Domenico Berardi scored his third goal in three games with a fine strike as Italy kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win at home to Northern Ireland.
Ian Baraclough, who gave captain Steven Davis a record equalling 125th cap, saw his side make a decent start in Parma.
But they found themselves 1-0 down after Sassuolo man Berardi fired the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
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The ball over the top continued to be a major problem for the visitors' defence and they were unstuck six minutes from the break when Ciro Immobile's low shot somehow beat the keeper at his near post.
Baraclough put on George Saville at the break and they were the better side for most of the second half with a brilliant double save from Gianluigi Donnarumma denying Gavin Whyte and Michael Smith.
The AC Milan keeper made another fine stop to deny Josh Magennis's flick from close range, while Paddy McNair blasted over with the goal at his mercy late on as the Azzurri held on to make it 56 matches unbeaten at home.


Mancini's side have plenty of attacking options to fear in Euro 2020.
The Azzurri showed their prowess in the opening 45 minutes with their front three causing havoc. Although they took their foot of the gas in the second half, with Federico Chiesa on the bench, scoring goals should not be an issue in this summer's rescheduled tournament. They have now scored 10 goals in their past four games.

Italy celebrating Northern Ireland

Image credit: Getty Images


Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy): He deserved his clean sheet after three brilliant saves in the second half to help the Azzurri weather the storm to continue his impressive season.


ITALY: Donnarumma 9, Florenzi 7, Bonucci 7, Chiellini 7, Emerson 5, Pellegrini 5, Locatelli 4, Verratti 5; Berardi 8, Immobile 8, Insigne 7. Subs: Barella 5, Chiesa n/a, Spinazzola n/a, Pessina n/a, Grifo n/a.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Peacock-Farrell 4; Smith 6, Cathcart 5, J Evans 5, Dallas 6; McNair 6; C Evans 5, Davis 5, McCann 5; Whyte 6, Magennis 5. Subs: Saville 6, Lavery 5, Thompson n/a, Lafferty n/a.

Berardi Pellegrini Italy Northern Ireland

Image credit: Getty Images


14' - GOAL FOR ITALY! Florenzi to Berardi who cuts inside and fires it into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
39' - GOAL FOR ITALY! Insigne through ball to Immobile who bursts into the area and fires a low shot which somehow beats the keeper at his near post.
50' - CHANCE! Insigne's cross is headed wide by Immobile at the far post from a few yards out. Should have scored!
55' - GREAT SAVES! From a woeful back-pass, Donnarumma with a double save to deny Whyte and Smith!
71' - TOP SAVE! Jonny Evan's cross finds Magennis whose flick is brilliantly saved by Donnarumma.
87' - CHANCE! McNair blasts it over from six yards after Italy give it away by playing out from the back.


Leonardo Bonucci made his 100th appearance for his country.
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