Federico Bernardeschi scored the opener for Italy
Genoa (Italy) (AFP) - Ruslan Malinovskiy cancelled out Federico Bernardeschi’s second half strike as Italy were held 1-1 by Ukraine in an international friendly in Genoa on Wednesday during which the victims of the bridge collapse in the city were remembered.
Bernardeschi’s low strike beat Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov after 55 minutes, but seven minutes later Malinovskiy volleyed in for the visitors.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini spent most of his playing career in Genoa, at Sampdoria, and the friendly at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris was organised to raise money for those affected by the collapse of the Morandi bridge on August 14.
Mancini, 53, was the most capped player in Sampdoria’s history and also the Genoa club’s top scorer winning a Serie A, four Italian Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup with the club.
Play was halted at the 43rd minute to remember the 43 people who died in last August’s bridge disaster, with the words “Genova nel cuore” (Genoa in the heart) flashing up on the stadium’s big screens with players and supporters carrying out a minute’s applause for the victims.
With 12,000 fans in attendance, around 105,000 euros was raised for the disaster fund.
For Italy the game was a warm-up ahead of next Sunday’s Nations League game against Poland, with the Ukraine playing the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Paris St Germain midfielder Marco Veratti played a key role in the match after a long lay-off with Cagliari midfielder Nicolò Barella, 21, making his senior Italy debut.
Pyatov has made a number of fine saves to keep it goalless at the break, clearing a low Bernardeschi curling shot after five minutes and clearing a Leonardo Bonucci volley.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini spent 15 years of his playing career in Genoa club Sampdoria.
There was a double chance just before half-time, as Lorenzo Insigne’s effort was beaten away by Pyatov and a Barella volley deflected over.
But Bernardeschi finally got the better of Pyatov after 55 minutes before being replaced by Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
Federico Chiesa missed a chance to close down the game for the Italians, and moments later Mykyta Burda headed down for Malinovskiy to volley in.
Mancini took over four-time world champions Italy after their failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, but has just one win since May, against Saudi Arabia.
In the Nations League, Italy play Poland in Chorzow, after drawing 1-1 against the Poles in Bologna and losing 1-0 to European champions Portugal.
The Ukraine play the Czech Republic at home in Kharkiv on Tuesday.