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Italy kicked off the European Championship with a convincing 3-0 victory over Turkey in Group A at the Olympic Stadium last night with Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne on target.
Roberto Mancini’s side had been frustrated by Turkey’s defensive approach in the first half but broke through in the 53rd minute when a hard-hit cross from Domenico Berardi flew in off Turkey defender Merih Demiral for an own goal.
The Azzurri, now unbeaten in 28 matches, doubled their lead in the 66th when Leonardo Spinazzola’s drive was parried by Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir but Immobile reacted well to slot home the loose ball.
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Insigne made it 3-0 in the 79th minute with a confident, curling finish after some sloppy defending from the disappointing Turks.
The win capped an emotional night in the Italian capital which saw 16,000 fans return to the Stadio Olimpico.
A spectacular sound and light show and fireworks preceded kick-off for the month-long 24-team event, which will be played across 11 countries having been delayed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There was a performance by the Italian National Police orchestra, a parade of huge inflatable balloons on the pitch, tenor Andrea Bocelli sang ‘Nessun Dorma’ before a virtual performance from Martin Garrix, Bono, and The Edge.
Former Italy World Cup winners Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti, who played for Lazio and Roma during their careers at the Stadio Olimpico, carried the ball to the centre of the pitch before kick-off.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK