Pessina gets winner for Italy in extra-time thriller with Austria

Sports Desk, Jun 26 (EFE).- Underdogs Austria forced Italy to extra-time Saturday in their Euro 2020 knockout stage match, but the Azzurri eked out a 2-1 victory on goals by Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina.

The Italians came into the contest at London’s Wembley Stadium having outscored opponents 7-0 in their three group games, yet Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic was the first to find the back of net, though his goal in the 65th minute was disallowed for offside.

Italy’s best chance in regulation was a Ciro Immobile strike in the first half that hit the post.

Five minutes into the first extra-time period, Chiesa beat Austrian goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann with a shot from a difficult angle.

Italy looked to have the match in the bag when Pessina made it 2-0 in the 105th minute, his second goal of the tournament and fourth in eight caps.

But Sasa Kalajdzic cut the deficit in half with a tremendous diving header in the 115th, making for a nerve-racking final stretch as the Azzurri extended their team-record unbeaten string to 31 matches.

Next up for Roberto Mancini’s men will be the winner of Sunday’s tie between reigning European champions Portugal and Belgium, one of the pre-tournament favorites. EFE jjl/dr

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