Italy lose top spot after 1-1 Dutch stalemate

Bergamo (Italy) (AFP) –


Italy lost top spot in their Nations League group after a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands in Bergamo on Wednesday.

The 'Azzurri' had won 1-0 in Amsterdam last month but have now been held in three of their last four matches, including Sunday's goalless draw against Poland in Gdansk.

Roberto Mancini's side drop to second in their group on six points, one behind the Poles who beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0.

The Netherlands are third with five points with all still to play for with two group games left in November.

Italy broke through after quarter of an hour with Nicolo Barella splitting the Dutch defence with a pass for Lorenzo Pellegrini, who made no mistake from close range.

But Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek drew the Dutch level less than 10 minutes later when he fired home on the rebound from Memphis Depay's shot.

Ciro Immobile missed two chances to put the hosts ahead with goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen denying the Lazio striker shortly before Van de Beek struck, and again just after the hour mark.

The Italian national team was playing in Bergamo for the first time in 14 years, the match also a tribute to a region devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Only 1,000 spectators were allowed into Atalanta's Gewiss Stadium, including 243 mayors from the Bergamo province and front-line health workers who have grappled with the pandemic.