Thursday 25 December 2014

Conte in winning start as Conte and De Rossi score

Italy2 Netherlands 0

Jamie Holland

Published 05/09/2014 | 02:30

Conte caused a stir when he left out star striker Mario Balotelli from his squad (David Maher / SPORTSFILE)
Conte caused a stir when he left out star striker Mario Balotelli from his squad (David Maher / SPORTSFILE)

Italy scored twice in the opening 10 minutes to give Antonio Conte a winning start as manager against Guus Hiddink's 10-man Holland.

Ciro Immobile scored his first international goal three minutes in, and Daniele De Rossi added a penalty in the 10th minute.

The opening goal was set up by a long ball from defender Leonardo Bonucci, which Immobile controlled expertly then dribbled around goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen before slotting into an empty net.

The penalty was awarded after Bruno Martins Indi was sent off for pushing down Simone Zaza, and De Rossi beat Cillessen from the spot.

The Netherlands rarely threatened at San Nicola Stadium.

Conte replaced Cesare Prandelli, who resigned immediately after Italy's first-round elimination from the World Cup. The well-travelled Hiddink began his second stint in charge of the Netherlands.

"Besides the result, I was interested to see how the lads responded. It was definitely a positive response," Conte said. "We've only worked together for four days and we have a long road ahead of us."

Both sides were missing key players. Conte caused a stir when he left out star striker Mario Balotelli from his squad, and Andrea Pirlo was injured.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's two goals in the first half of a friendly against Estonia made him Sweden's all-time top scorer on 50.

Irish Independent

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