Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna, Italy
Italy 4-0 San Marino
The overriding feeling after San Marino’s latest defeat is that it could have been worse. A historic first meeting between the tiny Sammarinese and the nation that surrounds them was never going to be good news as far as the result was concerned. But thankfully the Italians didn’t overdo things and try and humiliate their opponents.
Playing in the Bologna stadium which San Marino used to call home (scene of Gualtieri’s goal against England) San Marino were under the cosh from the start with the goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini having plenty to do, which he did quite well initially making some very nice saves from Boneventura, Aquilani and Diamanti.
It was never going to last of course, but to have survived until the 28th minute is quite an achievement. Andrea Poli was the man to finally beat Simoncini after latching onto a loose ball in the box, with his first goal for Italy.
Simoncini continued the good work however, saving well from Aquilani again 10 minutes later, but unfortunately the rebound fell to Alberto Gilardino to fire home.
The second half goals were all down to Andrea Pirlo free-kicks. One going in directly, and the other scored by Alberto Aquilani on a rebound off substitute keeper Federico Valentini who had come on at half-time. He wasn’t up to the heroics of Simoncini unfortunately, so don’t expect to see him picking the ball out of the net in September’s qualifiers.
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