Spain top Italy 2-1 to reach Nations League final

Sports Desk, Oct 6 (EFE).- Ferran Torres had a brace Wednesday to lead Spain 2-1 over Italy in the UEFA Nations League semifinal as La Roja extracted a measure of vengeance for their loss to the Italians on penalties in the Euro 2020 semifinal clash at Wembley in July.

Besides punching their ticket for Sunday’s final against Belgium or France, Spain had the satisfaction of ending Italy’s record unbeaten run after 37 matches.

The Azzurri started poorly in front of 37,000 people – the vast majority of them cheering for Italy – at the San Siro in Milan and went behind in the 17th minute thanks to Torres.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, jeered by AC Milan fans angry about his decision to leave the Rossoneri for Paris Saint-Germain over the summer, was visibly rattled and only the post stopped Marcos Alonso from making it 2-0 before the 20-minute mark.

The hosts improved as the contest wore on and Lorenzo Insigne inexplicably fired wide on a chance to equalize shortly after 30 minutes.

But with four minutes left before the break, veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci picked up a second yellow card for an elbow to Sergio Busquets and the Italians were reduced to 10 men.

The outlook grew ever darker in first-half stoppage time when Torres scored again.

With 12 goals in 21 matches, the Manchester City man has emerged as the most dangerous striker for La Roja, while 17-year-old Gavi turned in a performance that more than justified Luis Enrique’s decision to give him his first start with the national side.

Italy began the second half looking as if their highest aspiration was to avoid conceding another goal, but Lorenzo Pellegrini’s goal off the counter in the 83rd minute added some excitement to the final stretch. EFE rmm/dr

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