Italy beat Ecuador with goals from Pellegrini and Barella.

Italy beat Ecuador with goals from Pellegrini and BarellaLorenzo Pellegrini’s early strike and Nicolo Barella’s last-minute goal ensured a refreshed Italian team secured a 2-0 victory against Ecuador in a friendly match held at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, on Sunday.

Italy beat Ecuador with goals from Pellegrini and Barella.
Credit: Football Italia

Under the guidance of coach Luciano Spalletti, the Italian side saw an entirely new lineup compared to the one that edged past Venezuela 2-1 on Thursday, allowing numerous players to showcase their abilities ahead of the Euro 2024 in Germany.

The match also included a moment of silence to remember Fiorentina’s director, Joe Barone, who died the previous Tuesday.

Pellegrini quickly set the tone, firing Italy into the lead three minutes following a free-kick scenario.

Nicolò Zaniolo almost extended the lead shortly after, but his effort was thwarted by Ecuador’s goalkeeper Javier Burrai.

As the match progressed, Ecuador began exerting more pressure, notably with a significant attempt by Gonzalo Plata, which Italy’s goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario impressively saved.

Nevertheless, Italy cemented their victory in stoppage time when Barella executed a skillful lob over Burrai.

Post-match, Spalletti praised the U.S. tour’s positive impact on the team as they gear up to defend their European championship in June.

He highlighted the challenges and the value of the friendly matches in assessing and refining the team’s tactics and cohesion.

Barella, reveling in his first match as Italy’s captain, shared his reflections on the game, noting the team’s resilience and the areas requiring improvement as they continue to adapt to the coach’s strategies.

He emphasized the growing unity and commitment within the squad.

Italy is slated to play additional friendly matches against Turkey and Bosnia in June in preparation for their Euro 2024 campaign. They are in Group B alongside Spain, Albania, and Croatia for the month-long European tournament beginning June 14.


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