CESENA, Italy — First-half goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini earned Italy a 2-1 win over Hungary in the Nations League on Tuesday.
Coach Roberto Mancini again named an experimental Italy side, but that mattered little as the hosts dominated from the off in Cesena, deservedly taking the lead on the half-hour mark through Inter Milan midfielder Barella.
AS Roma skipper Pellegrini followed up his goal in Saturday’s Nations League opener against Germany with another strike just before half time to put Italy into a commanding position.
An own goal from Gianluca Mancini gave Hungary hope of building on their surprise win over England at the weekend with a credible point in Cesena, but Italy held on to move onto four points from their two opening League A, Group Three games.
With Germany drawing 1-1 with England in Munich on Tuesday, Italy sit top of the group, having won just their fourth match from 12 since securing European Championship glory last July.
“It was a good match in the first half, but their goal put us in a bit of a tough place,” Mancini told Rai Sport. “We should have won by a much a higher margin.
“We were also a bit tired, it’s normal. To concede a goal in a match that should have already been finished off is difficult. We are young side, who will have to work hard. Our start has been good.” — Reuters