Italy struggle past Albania


October 10, 2017
Albania's goalkeeper Etrit Berisha, left, saves a shot by Italy's Ciro Immobile, right, as Albania's Frederic Veseli looks on during the World Cup Group G qualifying match between Albania and Italy at Loro Borici stadium, in Shkoder, northern Albania, yesterday

Italy scraped past Albania 1-0 in their last World Cup qualifier, another poor effort which will do little to inspire confidence in coach Gian Piero Ventura and his team.

Italy were already guaranteed second spot and a play-off berth from Europe Group G, and Antonio Candreva's second-half goal ensured it of top-seed status in the draw.

The Azzurri finished five points behind Spain, who won in Israel 1-0. Macedonia beat Liechtenstein 4-0 in the match between the two bottom sides in the group.

"I didn't celebrate when Candreva scored, it seemed right that we were in front, but I was happy, above all for the lads," Ventura said. "We have some limitations at the moment but today there was the desire to try and do things.

"These were the aims that we set ourselves before. We took another small step forward but we continue to give the ball away. ... But I'm happy for them, this is a good group, with a few limitations because of certain absences."

Italy and Ventura came under fire last Friday following a dismal 1-1 draw at home to Macedonia.

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