Pellegrini pearler helps Italy win over Ecuador in New Jersey

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Pellegrini pearler helps Italy win over Ecuador in New Jersey

Italy celebrates Lorenzo Pellegrini's opener
Italy celebrates Lorenzo Pellegrini's openerAFP
Italy rounded off their two-match trip to the United States with a 2-0 win over Ecuador at Red Bull Area in New Jersey, taking their unbeaten run to four matches, while La Tri are still without a win over the Italians after three attempts.

Italy – who had 11 changes to the side that began their 2-1 win over Venezuela in Miami on Thursday – made the ideal start inside three minutes having won a free-kick 25 yards from goal.

Federico Dimarco pulled rank over Lorenzo Pellegrini to take the set piece, which bounced back off the wall to Pellegrini, who rocketed the ball first time into the top corner.

Ecuador looked dangerous going forward, but it was the Azzurri who had the next clear chance; having punched away a corner, debutant goalkeeper Javier Burrai made a tremendous save from point-blank range to deny Nicolo Zaniolo, after the ball had been headed back into the danger area.

Both sides showed neat attacking play for the rest of the half to excite the crowd, but a lack of end product meant neither Burrai nor fellow debutant Guglielmo Vicario had much more to do.

The second half began much like the first, with Pellegrini taking centre stage in the third minute, but this time Italy were denied by Burrai, who saved Giacomo Raspadori’s header after a delightful chip over the top from the Roma man.

Ecuador should have tested Vicario soon after when Gonzalo Plata laid one on a platter for Alan Minda – a goalscorer in their 2-0 win over Guatemala at the same venue on Thursday – but he blasted his first-time effort over.

The Tottenham Hotspur stopper was finally tested as the match entered its final quarter as Plata took matters into his own hands, cutting in from the right wing and forcing a save from the edge of the box before Pervis Estupiñán curled the rebound narrowly wide.

Felix Sanchez’s men piled forward in the closing stages, but could not find an equaliser and were left exposed at the back, allowing Nicolo Barella to round off a counter-attack in the final minute.

Ecuador’s seven-match unbeaten run comes to an end, while Italy, have lost just once in what is now eight matches under Luciano Spalletti, hitting decent form going into the defence of their European Championship crown.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Lorenzo Pellegrini (Italy)

Check out the match stats with Flashscore.

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