Roberto Mancini calls for Italy to be more clinical following draw with Ukraine

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Italy boss Roberto Mancini admitted his team must be more clinical after allowing Ukraine to fight back and earn a 1-1 draw on an emotional night at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s friendly, a wreath had been laid at the Ponte Morandi, where 43 people were killed in August, with the message ‘The Azzurri with Genoa in their hearts’.

Just before the interval at Sampdoria’s home ground, where Mancini had spent the majority of his playing career, there was a break in play for everyone to pay their respects to those who lost their lives, with applause.

Italy should already have been well in control at half-time but found Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov in fine form.

Somewhat ironically, it took a fumble by Pyatov early in the second half for the Azzurri to finally break the deadlock when Federico Bernardeschi’s speculative 20-yard shot squirmed over the line.

Ukraine, though, hit back and were level just after the hour when Ruslan Malinovsky hooked the ball in following a corner.

The visitors could have gone on to win the match, Malinovsky seeing a free-kick touched onto the crossbar by AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who also then saved at point-blank range from Ukraine substitute Taras Stepanenko.

The Azzurri are now winless in the last five home matches, and will resume their Nations League campaign away to Poland on Sunday.

Mancini is expecting a much-improved display.

“There is regret for the result. In reality it does not tell us enough, tonight we deserved to make another couple of goals,” the Italy manager said at a press conference.

“Now we have to improve on this aspect and continue on this path.”

Mancini added: “We have to be more incisive, when many chances are created, you have to score goals.

“When you change four or five players the team can lose a bit of togetherness, but the guys produced some good attacking actions and even in the second half, we still created some chances.

“The positive thing is that overall the team played good football for long spells.

“This was a friendly, now we have four days to recover and then in Poland we will try to do our best.”

On the tributes to those who died in the Ponte Morandi collapse, Mancini said: “It was a touching moment and an important one for the victims of this horrible accident.

“Being the Italy coach in my old stadium was particularly moving for me.”

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