Russia Edges Turkey, Italy Draws With Poland

Russia Edges Turkey, Italy Draws With Poland
Russia Edges Turkey, Italy Draws With Poland

Italy needed a controversial Jorginho penalty to scrape a 1-1 draw at home to Poland in the UEFA Nations League on Friday.

Italy, playing in their first match under Roberto Mancini, who replaced Gian Piero Ventura following his sacking after the Azzuri failed to qualify for the World Cup, fell behind to a Piotr Zielinski volley five minutes before half-time, Eurosport reported.

New Poland manager Jerzy Brzeczek, who replaced Adam Nawalka following their World Cup group stage exit, saw his side frustrate the home crowd in Bologna as they battled to hold on for a famous victory.

But with the crowd getting restless, Italy was rescued in the 78th minute when the referee decided Jakub Blaszczykowski had fouled Federico Chiesa in the area, although replays suggested the Pole got the ball first.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho calmly converted to ensure the points were shared in the League A Group game.

World Cup host Russia got the Nations League campaign off to a flying start with a 2-1 win away to Turkey thanks to goals from Dennis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba on Friday.

Turkey coach Mircea Lucescu fielded a revamped young side that initially failed to impose itself on the visitors despite a rowdy crowd in the Black Sea province of Trabzon.

World Cup quarterfinalist Russia took the lead in the 13th minute when Cheryshev rocketed a left-foot volley past goalkeeper Serkan Kirintili, silencing the home fans.

Center-back Serdar Aziz equalized just before halftime when he unleashed a right-foot shot into the Russia net, but the visitors regained the lead shortly after the break.

A defensive misunderstanding left Dzyuba one-on-one with Kirintili and the striker fired the ball past the keeper to give the Russian side a 2-1 advantage.

Despite controlling the majority of the game and making several chances late on, Turkey could not capitalize.

The Nations League, brainchild of European soccer body UEFA, aims to boost interest in internationals, which are seen by clubs and fans as disruptive to the domestic football season.

To be held every two years, it features all 55 of Europe’s national teams divided into four divisions split into four groups, with games to be played between September and November.

The four group winners will be promoted to the higher division, while the bottom four teams will be relegated to the lower division.

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