Italy 0-0 Ireland: Azzurre held to goalless draw at Viola Park by impressive Ireland

With neither side involved in UEFA Nations League action throughout the international break, Eileen Gleeson’s Ireland headed to the impressive Viola Park in Firenze to take on Italy in a friendly.

ITA: Schroffenegger; Linari, Salvai, Gama; Oliviero, Greggi, Galli, Glionna; Dragoni, Girelli, Piemonte

IRL: Brosnan; McCabe, Fahey, Hayes, Payne; Connolly, Stapleton; Atkinson, Littlejohn, Ziu; Carusa

Friday’s match under the lights in Firenze would be a momentous occasion for the hosts, as they said their last farewells to captain Sara Gama, in her 140th and final appearance with the Azzurre.

Ireland made a strong start against a side that sit considerably higher than them in the latest FIFA rankings, with Katie McCabe forcing Katja Schroffenegger into a save after just four minutes with a long-range strike.

Kyra Carusa would test the goalkeeper too, though Schroffenegger remained composed and was able to force a corner. The Girls in Green couldn’t take advantage though, and Italy began to carve their way into the match, much to the delight of the home fans inside Viola Park.

Benedetta Glionna saw her curling strike fly wide of the post after she danced past McCabe, just minutes before Christiana Girelli threatened to open the scoring with a free-kick – though Courtney Brosnan was equal to her effort.

Ireland thought they had opened the scoring with fifteen minutes left to play, as substitute Leanne Kiernan darted through on goal after latching onto a sublime pass from Amber Barrett – only to be flagged offside after being Schroffenegger.

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Italy’s best chance would come within the final ten minutes at Viola Park, as Michela Catena did well to control a long ball through the lines from Everton’s Martina Piemonte, weaving around a number of Ireland defenders before blazing her unconvincing strike over the crossbar.

The final whistle in Firenze saw Italy and Ireland settle for a goalless draw, in what was the first international fixture to be held at Viola Park. Italy now turn their attention to their upcoming clash against England in Algeciras, while the Girls in Green prepare to welcome Cymru to Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday.