Euro 2020 champions Italy were held to a draw by a fine Bulgarian defensive effort in the World Cup qualifier in Florence.
Federico Chiesa put Italy in front after 16 minutes with a superb goal, dribbling inside from the right flank, then exchanging passes with Ciro Immobile before driving low into the corner with his left foot.
Roberto Mancini's side dominated the rest of the half but one lapse in defence six minutes before the break saw Kiril Despodov get down the left flank and put in a perfect outside of the right foot centre for Atanas Iliev to hit home first time.
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Some errant finishing, especially from Lorenzo Insigne, desperate defending and inspired keeping from Georgi Georgiev ensured Bulgaria held on for their second point in Group C, ahead of a very winnable game at home to Lithuania on Sunday.
Italy remain top with 10 points from their four games but now face a tough test in Switzerland on Sunday, before hosting Lithuania on Wednesday.
The result does mean they equal the record for the most number of international matches unbeaten on 35.

Chiesa celebrates his goal

Image credit: Getty Images

Talking point - Nothing more than a blip

Some results are reasons to spark doubt about personnel, motivation or tactics. This is not one of them.
For the most part Italy played very well, with plenty of good interplay with the forward line and midfield and a dedicated press when Bulgaria threatened to break that kept the ball in the opposition half for nearly the whole game.
With the noted exception of Alessandro Florenzi who did not look up to this level, there was not a poor performance from Roberto Mancini's side.
Only desperate defending, fine goalkeeping and, yes, being a little off with the final ball kept the Azzuri away from scoring multiple goals.

Man of the match - Federico Chiesa (Italy)

He started Euro 2020 as a substitute for the Azzuri but forced his way into the side midway through the tournament and now looks like he will be the side's key man going forward.
Playing on the right side of the front three, he tormented oppositinon left back Anton Nedyalkov throughout.
As well as his sumptious touch, the way with the ball at his feet he can shift from stationary to top speed is what makes him so dangerous to come up against, as proved for the goal.

Illiev scores for Bulgaria

Image credit: Getty Images

Player ratings:

Italy: Donnarumma 6; Florenzi 5, Acerbi 6, Bonucci 7, Emerson 7; Barella 7, Jorginho 7, Verratti 7; Chiesa 8, Immobile 7, Insigne 7
Subs: Cristante 6, Toloi 6, Berardi 6, Raspadori 6, Pellegrini 6.
Bulgaria: Georgiev 8; Hristov 7, Antov 7, Hristov 7, Nedyalkov 7; Kostadinov 6, Vitanov 7, Yankov 6; Despodov 6, Iliev 6, Yomov 5.
Subs: Delev 6, Chochev 6, Krastev 6, Kirilov 6, Malinov 6.

Match highlights:

16' GOAL FOR ITALY! And a wonderful one at that. Running with the ball at pace coming in off the right flank, Chiesa plays a one-two with Immobile at the edge of the box and then fires a low drive into the corner of the net.
39' GOAL FOR BULGARIA! That came out of nothing. Despodov raced down the left and fired a low ball with the outside of his right foot and Ascoli striker Iliev hit home first time leaving Donnarumma with no chance.
62' Wonderful feet from Chiesa to get around Antov and then he tried to clip it over Georgiev who made a fantastic save with a raised right hand.

Key stat:

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