Luca Vido once again scored for Italy mere minutes after the second-half began to give Gli Azzurini a crucial 1-0 victory of New Zealand in their second Group B match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 at the Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah. The victory secures a spot in the Round of 16 for Italy with one match still to play in the group stage.
New Zealand enjoyed the better chances and had the Italians pinned back into their defensive third early on, showing no signs of intimidation after stumbling to a 7-0 loss to Uruguay in their opening Group B match on Thursday.
The match came to life in the 18th minute when Stuart Holthusen was brought down by Italy goalkeeper Simon Scuffet at the far edge of the penalty area, awarding the All Whites with an early penalty. Monty Patteron stepped up to the spot and fired to Scuffet’s right, but the Italian No1 guessed correctly and then was able to quickly react to see New Zealand’s follow-up effort on the rebound pushed wide for a corner.
Two notable chances in the first-half followed the missed penalty. Three minutes after Scuffet’s stop, Vittorio Parigini saw his effort beat Zac Speedy but not the post, and in the 29th minute New Zealand struck the woodwork as well when Holthusen’s shot looked to have Scuffet beaten, but the Italian managed to get a finger on the ball and watched it glance off the upright.
New Zealand would feel unlucky to go into the break with nothing to show for their efforts, and the Italians would soon punish them for not finding a first-half lead. Less than three minutes after the restart Alberto Cerri took a shot from the edge of the area which forced Speedy to save. But the New Zealand custodian gave up a rebound that he perhaps should have done better to control and second-half substitute Vido was on the doorstep for a simple tap-in to make an immediate impact in Daniele Zoratto’s side. The striker has scored both of Italy's goals in UAE so far, after tallying against Côte d'Ivoire just after the restart in similar fashion.
New Zealand had only one clear-cut chance in the second-half to find an equaliser but it was Judd Baker this time who fired just wide of the Scuffet’s far post. The hard-fought victory means Italy can now look ahead to the Round of 16 after closing out Group B play against Uruguay on Wednesday, while New Zealand meet Côte d'Ivoire the same day.