France extended their strong record on Italian soil with a 3-1 win in Bari in Giampiero Ventura’s first match in charge of the Azzurri.
First-half goals from Anthony Martial and Olivier Giroud, either side of a fine equaliser by Graziano Pelle put France ahead before Layvin Kurzawa’s late strike wrapped up a match that exposed Italy’s defensive frailties.
Ventura lined Italy up with Fiorentina’s Davide Astori in a back three that was missing Leonardo Bonucci due to the Juventus player’s family commitments, and a mistake from Andrea Barzagli allowed Martial to score easily after 17 minutes.
Italy enjoyed long spells of possession and showed some of the dynamism that made them one of the teams of the tournament at Euro 2016, but, after Pelle’s superbly taken equaliser, France capitalised on their failure to deal with a corner and Giroud scored.
Stadio San Nicola saw a piece of history when 17-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma replaced the country’s most-capped player, Gianluigi Buffon, and became the youngest goalkeeper to represent the national team, but the rookie was at fault when Kurzawa beat him at his near post to make it 3-1.
Pelle volleyed wide from Antonio Candreva’s corner inside the opening two minutes as Italy made the brighter start, but France weathered the early spell of pressure and began to probe for an opening.
With 17 minutes on the clock, Paul Pogba tried an ambitious pass down the right that Barzagli should have dealt with easily, but the Juventus defender misjudged it and allowed Martial to race clear and slide a low, side-footed finish under Buffon and into the net.
France were ahead for less than five minutes, however, as Eder outpaced Kurzawa down the right and crossed to Pelle, who took a touch to control the ball before spinning past Raphael Varane and firing beyond Steve Mandanda with brilliant skill.
But France exposed Italy’s defensive frailties again just before the half-hour mark when the home side failed to clear Antoine Griezmann’s corner and Kurzawa headed the ball down into the path of Giroud, who volleyed the ball into the corner of the net before his markers could react.
Second-half substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac flashed a shot just wide when Djibril Sidibe’s pass found him in yards of space on the edge of the box, before Riccardo Montolivo drew a good save from Mandanda at the other end with a swerving 30-yard drive.
Donnarumma was alert to block Kurzawa’s 77th minute cross with Gignac waiting to pounce, but he guessed wrong when the Paris Saint-Germain full-back got a second chance, diving away from his goal as the ball flashed between him and the post.
It was a harsh lesson for the inexperienced goalkeeper, but he spared himself further blushes when he made a good save from Pogba’s awkwardly bouncing 25-yard free-kick.
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