Italy 0-1 Portugal: Gli Azzurri dominates but Portugal gets the win
EFE

A lone-goal scored by Eder following a brilliant assist from Ricardo Quaresma was everything Portugal needed to defeat Italy, in a friendly match played in Switzerland.

Even though the game was expected to be an intense battle filled with world-class players, it seemed as if both sides opted to keep some of their regular starters out of the starting XI. Both managers opted to see some of the players they don't usually include in the starting lineups. Quaresma, Joao Moutinho, Stephan El Shaarawy and Leonardo Bonucci were some of the names on the pitch once the ball started rolling.

Portugal unable to get going in opening stages

Both teams started the game with a slow pace as neither side found a lot of space in the opposing final third. Italy tried to play a possession-based style with the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Candreva whilst Portugal opted to use the speed of their wingers, most notably Quaresma who proved to be a nightmare for the opposing defence.

Pirlo had the first chance to score with a direct free kick that went straight to Beto. Moments later, Andrea Bertolacci blasted an effort from the edge of the box which sailed just wide of the left post.

Portugal didn't look comfortable and things got worse for them when Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao was forced to leave the game with an injury, with Eliseu replacing the 27-year old.

Italy had another clear chance to score when El Shaarawy missed from relatively close range whilst Ciro Immobile also threatened with a shot that was cleared off the line by Bruno Alves

Antonio Conte's team were in total control however, with neither team able to find the net, the first half ended in a scoreless draw.

Ricardo Quaresma's magic lifts Portugal

Italy continued to move the ball around in midfield but they were leaving a lot of space on the flanks, something Portugal took advantage of to score the first goal of the game.

A dazzling run made by Quaresma on the left saw the FC Porto winger cross with the outside of his foot, finding Eder inside the area, who scored his first international goal for Portugal, in 18 international caps.

Italy go in search for an equaliser

Italy pushed the lines forward looking for a second-half equaliser but contrary to what happened in the first 45 minutes, they didn't have a lot of clarity in the final third.

Candreva had an attempt blocked before Matteo Darmian had one of the clearest equalising opportunities for Italy after 67 minutes. After receiving a through ball from Pirlo, the right-back blasted a shot wide from just inside the area, unable to trouble Beto.

Portugal answered with a direct free kick from Quaresma but the ball sailed over the bar. Italy decided to shake things up with Antonio Conte bringing on Manuel Pasqual, Alessandro Matri and Marco Parolo looking for more pace on the flank, power in offense and clarity in midfield.

Neither of these three players however, were able to make much of an impact in the game as Portugal looked very composed in defence. Fernando Santos' team decided to sit back, allowing Italy to move the ball around knowing they were playing better and better as the game advanced.

The last few minutes saw Portugal defending the lead as they slowed the game down, attempting to waste time at every available opportunity. The strategy wasn't successful and Italy generated plenty of chances in the final minutes, however they were unable to find the back of the net. Manolo Gabbiadini, Franco Vazquez and Andrea Ranocchia came close to equalising in the closing stages for the Italians.

Both teams will return to the action on September this year for the 2016 European Championship qualifiers.

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