Türkiye and Italy Share Spoils in Euro 2024 Preparatory Friendly

Italy’s Federico Dimarco (L) and Türkiye’s Abdülkadir Ömür in action during the international friendly match, Bologna, Italy, June 4, 2024. (EPA Photo)

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In a match that promised excitement but delivered a defensive masterclass, Türkiye’s national football team held Italy to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday at the iconic Renato Dall’Ara Stadium.

Both teams, eager to fine-tune their tactics ahead of Euro 2024, struggled to break the deadlock despite spirited performances. Türkiye, donning a blend of youth and experience, started with Altay Bayındır, Zeki Çelik, Abdülkerim Bardakcı, Ozan Kabak, Mert Müldür, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Kaan Ayhan, Oğuz Aydın, Yusuf Yazıcı, Barış Alper Yılmaz, and Kenan Yıldız. Italy, under coach Roberto Mancini, fielded a formidable squad including Vicario, Di Lorenzo, Mancini, Bastoni, Dimarco, Cristante, Jorginho, Orsolini, Pellegrini, Chiesa, and Retegui.

The match began with both sides cautiously probing for weaknesses, resulting in a first half devoid of goals. Türkiye’s defense, led by Ozan Kabak and Abdülkerim Bardakcı, stood firm against Italy’s pressing attack led by Federico Chiesa and Matteo Retegui. A major blow for Türkiye came in the 42nd minute when Kabak collided with Retegui, sustaining a knee injury that forced him off the pitch. Merih Demiral replaced him, ensuring the defensive line remained solid.

The second half mirrored the first, with both teams creating but failing to convert chances. Despite fresh legs from substitutions, including Abdulkadir Ömür for Oğuz Aydın and Semih Kılıçsoy making his debut for Barış Alper Yılmaz, the scoreboard remained unchanged.

Semih Kılıçsoy and Oğuz Aydın had notable moments in the match, each donning the national jersey for the first time. Oğuz started the match and made way for Abdulkadir at halftime, while Semih entered the fray in the 82nd minute, providing a late spark.

The match held special significance for Türkiye’s coach Vincenzo Montella, who returned to the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium, where he first represented Italy as a player in 1999. Now, 25 years later, he faced his homeland as the head coach of Türkiye.

With the European Championship on the horizon, Türkiye’s next test is against Poland on June 10. The match, set to take place at PGE Narodowy Stadium, will kick off at 9:45 p.m. Turkish time, presenting another crucial opportunity for Montella’s men to fine-tune their tactics.

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