LUCA BIANCHIN / AIPS in RAS AL-KHAIMAH*: Italy kept pace with Uruguay at the top of the Group B in the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 by beating Côte d’Ivoire 1-
Luca Vido was the key player: he scored after five seconds in the second half thanks to an error of the Ivorian goalkeeper Diabagate. For the AC Milan support striker, this was a first goal with the Under-17 National Team.
Côte d’Ivoire gave Italy a difficult match and Simone Scuffet, one of the best goalkeepers of the tournament, saved Italy more than once.
Italy played as usual with a 4-4-2 formation, with Pugliese on the right wing. Capradossi, a central defender from AS Roma, went close after 12 minutes. Bedia, nine minutes later, did even better; on a counter attack, he won a duel and shot on goal but Scuffet saved Italy with an impressive dive.
The first half, if tight, was very physical: Keita and Maiga controlled the midfield, while Italy never managed to use Tutino’s speed and Vido’s technique. For the Azzurrini a De Santis freekick had the one and only other chance to score.
Vido’s goal opened a second half demanding plenty of stamina from both teams. Scuffet saved Italy twice but Italy controlled the midfield with Steffè and Parigini good replacements for Palazzi and Tutino.
Côte d’Ivoire, in the last 20 minutes, appeared tired and came close to an equaliser only once with a shot by Ahissan.
This was a rude awakening for the Ivorians after the U-17 African Championship won in April in Morocco. They must now make points on Sunday against Uruguay to avoid an early, surprising elimination. Up next for the Azzurrini is a meeting with New Zealand on October 20.
* This article appeared first on AIPSMedia.com, the website of the international sports journalists association which is running a Young Reporters course in UAE with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA