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2023 UEFA Euro U19: Italy through to final thanks to Luca Lipani’s late winner

[Credit: Seb Daly]

Luca Lipani’s heroic header propelled Italy to the final of the U19 Euros following their 3-2 victory over Spain.

Lipani, who came off the bench, nodded his country ahead, capping off an intense second half in which both teams exchanged goals with a total of five being scored.

Spain advanced to the knockout stage as Group B champions, securing wins against Iceland and Greece, and concluding the group stage with a goalless draw against Norway. Italy, on the other hand, had a more challenging group stage, finishing second with four points.

Bruno Iribarne was called into action after seven minutes when Francesco Pio Esposito directed a powerful header towards goal, but the Spanish goalkeeper’s strong hand kept it out.

Five minutes later, Iribarne denied another Esposito header, diving to his left after Spain’s slow start.

In the 19th minute, Michael Kayode displayed great skill as he dribbled the ball through the defender’s legs, but his shot from 20 yards sailed over the bar.

Italy thought they had taken the lead after half an hour when Niccolò Pisilli fired a low shot at the near post, but Iribarne did enough to keep the ball from crossing the goal line, despite Italian appeals.

In the 52nd minute, Samuele Vignato broke the deadlock by creating space for himself, shifting onto his left foot, and finishing into the far corner past Iribarne.

Spain responded just five minutes later through Víctor Barberá, the tournament’s leading goal scorer, who equalized emphatically with a looping right-footed finish from inside the area.

Iacopo Regonesi came agonizingly close with a volley that hit the ground, bounced off the woodwork, and hit Iribarne before he eventually recovered.

In the 65th minute, Italy regained their lead with a clever goal by Pisilli, as the midfielder poked the ball beyond the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner for a 2-1 lead.

With 15 minutes to go, Yarek Gasiorowski provided Spain with a second response, bundling the ball past Mastrantonio from close range with the help of a deflection from Regonesi.

Deep into regular time, Italy took their third lead of the evening through substitute Lipani, who guided his header into the back of the net.

The victory means Italy will face Portugal in the final of the 2023 UEFA U19 Championship on Sunday, July 16th.

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