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Italy finish third in Nations League

Italy finish third in Nations League
Italy Football (FILE)

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Italy withstood a late Belgium fightback to return to winning ways and claim third in the Nations League football competition.

Nicolo Barella opened the scoring with a crisp volley a minute after the interval in Turin before Domenico Berardi scored from the penalty spot.

Belgium hit the woodwork three times before pulling one back through Charles de Ketelaere late on.

They pressed for an equaliser but Italy, whose 37-game unbeaten run was ended by Spain on Wednesday, held on.

After a dull first half of the bronze-medal match, Barella sparked the game into life with a stunning first-time strike into the bottom corner from a corner.

Roberto Mancini’s side doubled their lead from the spot when Thibaut Courtois’ glove could only divert Berardi’s effort into the top corner after Timothy Castagne had brought down the lively Federico Chiesa.

Belgium continued to dominate possession and Courtois released substitute Kevin de Bruyne to find De Ketelaere, who nutmegged an otherwise inspired Gianluigi Donnarumma from close range.

The Italy goalkeeper had earlier denied former Tottenham defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen with smart saves. (BBC)