Italy 2-2 Romania: Italy surrender late-goal, settle for a draw against Romania
Image: AS.com

Even though Italy looked like the stronger team on paper, Romania proved to be a very tough opponent for Antonio Conte's team. Italy had some good moments, but they weren't able to capitalize on their chances when it mattered the most and as a result they ended settling for a 2-2 draw against Romania.

Italians start poorly

Italy didn't have a good performance in the first half. The offensive players were unable to pose a threat on the final third and defensively the team didn't fare any better. Romania, in fact, didn't offer a lot on the attack but they managed to score the first goal before the 10th minute mark when a communication mistake between Matteo Darmian and Andrea Barzagli - both players disturbed each other at the back - allowed Bogdan Stancu to place a shot past Gianluigi Buffon to put the visitors ahead.

Italy didn't rattle and they pushed their lines forward but their success was limited. Even though the likes of Alessandro Florenzi and Stephan El Shaarawy were a threat on offense and that Claudio Marchisio finally emerged as the team's playmaker in the middle of the pitch, the attacking duo of Graziano Pelle and Eder was often isolated so it wasn't strange when the half-time break arrived and Romania was still on the lead.

The game changed in the second half as Italy opted to play with a more attacking approach. Even though Conte opted to not make any subs during the half time break, the team was noticeably more aggressive and they were deservedly rewarded with the draw. Eder was fouled inside the box and Marchisio stepped up confiently to equalize the match.

Things would get better for the Italian side. The entrances of Manolo Gabbiadini, Stefano Okaka and Riccardo Montolivo gave the squad an extra boost on the attack and with Marchisio involved once again as the one delivering the assist, this time it would be Gabbiadini who would net the go-ahead goal for Gli Azzurri with a well taken header following a corner kick.

Florin Andone scored the equaliser (Source: Adevarul)
Florin Andone scored the equaliser (Source: Adevarul)

It seemed as if Italy was going to close the game out but the team managed to find a way to make things complicated in the final minutes. Gabbiadini sustained an injury when all the subs had been made so Italy was forced to finish the game with only 10 players and Romania took full advantage of that when susbtitute Florin Andone netted a shot past Salvatore Sirigu (who had replaced Buffon in the second half) to equalize the game.

Despite the fact that Italy tried really hard to secure the win, Romania did a great work to close the game out and they ended deserving the draw due to both their tenacity and their "never give up" attitude. Italy, on the other hand, ends the 2015 campaign on a very bad note and they certainly need to improve if they want to make some noise in the 2016 European Championships to be held next year in France.

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