Scotland U21 1-4 Italy U21

Written by Matthew Harold.

By Matthew Harold at Easter Road

Scotland handed Islam Feruz his first under 21 cap to become the youngest player to appear at that level, but Italy handed the hosts a football lesson.

Goals from Alessandro Florenzi, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Samuele Longo helped sink the Scots, who’s only goal of the game came from Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven.

The Scots also suffered a loss just after the half time break, as Rangers young goalkeeper Grant Adam sustained a nasty head injury.

Billy Stark’s side - without both Tom Cairney and Jordan Rhodes - had the worst possible start as Marco Capuano crossed from the right wing, onto the head of Florenzi, who guided the ball beyond Mark Ridgers.

Ridgers then came to the rescue of the Scots minutes later as he blocked a low drive from Ciro Immoblie after the Pescara striker beat the Scotland offside trap following a failed clearance by the home side from an Italian free kick.

The visitors remained on top for the early stages, only allowing Scotland long range efforts, while creating many chances of their own, with keeper Ridgers having to be on guard to prevent Nicola Sansone from scoring.

It wasn’t until the half hour mark that Scotland had their first real shot on target, as Mackay-Steven came in from the left hand side and unleashed a powerful drive from outside the box, beyond the arms of Simone Colombi, but unfortunately it cannoned off the post.

The Italians then proceeded to go up the other end and try their luck, as Immobile once got by the Scotland rearguard and fired a shot from just inside the area, which Ridgers managed to get down to in order to clear.

Stark’s side levelled the game up moments later as Johnny Russell cut the ball back from the Italian byeline, for his Tannadice teammate Mackay-Steven to knock home from close range to get his first goal in a Scotland jersey.

Russell, then tried his luck just before the half time break, as he curled an effort from the edge of the Italian area after receiving the ball from a David Wotherspoon pass, with Colombi having to get down to his right in order to palm it away for a corner.

The home side were forced to make their second substitution in goals, as Rochdale keeper Matthew Edwards was forced to enter the fray after on-loan Airdrie United keeper Adam came out to claim a cross from the right and was caught in the face by a boot from Marco Crimi.

Edwards first real action on his debut was to pick the ball out of the net, as Immobile, who is on-loan to Pescara from Juventus made his way through the middle of the Scotland defence and slotted the ball home.

Midway through the second half young Chelsea striker Feruz made history as he replaced Alex MacDonald in order to become the youngest player to represent Scotland at under 21 level.

But instead of getting back on level terms, the Scots went further behind, as poor distribution from Edwards led to the Italians claiming a free kick on the edge of the area, allowing Insigne to curl the ball beyond the Scotland stopper and into the net.

As the game entered its dying stages Italy claimed a fourth goal as Inter Milan forward Samuele Longo unleashed an unstoppable drive from inside the box, beyond the helpless Edwards in the goal to wrap up what had been a superb Italian job.

Scotland U21: Ridgers (Adam, 46, Edwards, 48) Jack (Toshney, 80), Hanlon (Shinnie, 80), Wilson, Perry, Kelly (McCabe, 46), Russell (McGeouch, 46), Wotherspoon (Palmer, 76), MacDonald (Feruz, 61), Allan (McLean, 61), Mackay-Steven (Armstrong, 76)

Italy U21: Colombi (Pinsoglio, 46), Donati (De Sciglio, 76), Crescenzi, Rossi (Antei, 46), Capuano, Caldirola (Crimi, 46), Sansone (De Luca, 76), Florenzi (Viviani, 76), Immobile, Verratti (Longo, 83), Insigne (Forestieri, 83)

Attendance: 4,665

Referee: Michael Oliver (England)

Man of the Match: Ciro Immobile (Italy U21)

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