The 3rd and final Football Aid game at Goodison Park on Tuesday 24th May saw England take on Italy in a special Football Aid International game. It was a special occasion with weather to match and the spectators were treated to a fine game of football, with the visiting Italian team eventually securing a 3-7 victory against their hosts!
Date: Tuesday 24th May 2016
Venue: Goodison Park
England (Home) vs Italy (Away)
Kick Off: 18:00 pm
Match Officials: Kristian Silcock, Luis Griffiths & Calum Jones
The visiting Italian side kicked us off at Goodison Park looking to earn a win on English turf.
The Italian team, made up of a mix of overseas and UK based players, started well and had the 1st chance of the game. The lively Alessandro Nihil broke free from the Home defence and tried to slot the ball to the right of the English No 1 Andy Davies, however the keeper made a smart save with his feet to keep the game scoreless.
In the early stages Italy dominated the possession and chances and No 10 Alessandro Nihil tried his luck from distance, but his effort couldn’t challenge England No 1 Andy Davies’ goal.
Despite the pressure from the Italian side it was the English who took the lead in the 27th min. A long ball by England No 10 Graham Sass found No 9 Kavi Hewavitarne in space and the skilful striker rounded the keeper and made it (1-0)!
Italy No 3 Paul Zacaroli was a tad fortunate to still be on the pitch when he found himself as the last man and brought down England No 9 Kavi Hewavitarne, luckily for the defender the referee was in a lenient mood…
The Italians were not to be denied and they got their equaliser just before half time. A free kick from wide on the right hand side was played in by Italy No 10 Alessandro Nihil and found the head of No 9 Matthew Zacharoli, the ball was heading goal-ward before taking a big deflection off an England defender for on own goal (1-1).
The referee shortly afterwards called time on a competitive and thrilling 1st half. The Italian team would be disappointed not to be leading, considering how dominant in possession they were but solid English defending had frustrated the Italians throughout the half and the teams went into the break all even with 1 goal apiece.
Half Time: England (Home) 1 - 1 Italy (Away)
The Three Lions restarted the 2nd half looking to cause an upset against the Italians but with just 50mins gone the Azzurri took the lead for the 1st time. The Italian captain Maurizio Boi has been a Football Aid Goal of the Season contender in his time and he demonstrated his skills again when he scored a wonder strike into the top right hand corner of the net (1-2).
The Italian team were playing the ball about well again and within 2 mins a powerful shot from Italy’s No 11 Maurizio Boi’s had given them a 2 goal lead (1-3).
The impressive No 11 Maurizio Boi nearly got his hat-trick but England No 16 Dan Foster’s brave block denied him the match ball at this stage. Foster was having a busy couple of mins, and this time he was well positioned on the goal line to clear the ball away to safety.
The Azzurri weren’t to be denied for long though and a curling shot from Italy No 10 Alessandro Nihil sneaked under the goalkeeper to make it (1-4) in the 65th min.
It was a solid lead for the English to try and catch and their task looked even harder when an exquisite close range volley from Italy No 4 Daniel Green saw his team’s lead stretch to (1-5).
Italian striker Maurizio Boi was having a fantastic day in front of goal, and he bagged his hat-trick goal on 84mins to make the score (1-6).
The goal scoring master class continued when Maurizio Boi got his 4th of the game a couple of mins later (1-7). It had been a goalscoring masterclass from the pacy forward and it deservedly earned him the Man of the Match award.
A lengthy injury spell then allowed England to mount a late comeback. It started with England No 17 Naseem Abdelkhaleq coolly converting a penalty in the 87th min (2-7). The midfielder showing stunning technique to fake the penalty with one foot and switch and poke it in with his opposite foot!
2 mins later, and No 17 Naseem Abdelkhaleq continued his excellent goal scoring form, bagging his 2nd of the night and England’s 3rd and at the same time reducing the deficit to just 3 goals (3-6).
However, in the last dying embers of the game, the Italians scored the killer goal, with another superb finish by No 10 Alessandro Nihil securing an impressive victory for the Azzurri (3-7).
And that was it, the referee called time on a high scoring 2nd half, which saw the Italian visitors win in commanding style. The final score-line ended up 3-7 despite some committed and organised English defending.
A huge thank you to all the Football Aid players and spectators for making this special International event such a unique occasion, also many thanks to Everton FC for allowing us to use Goodison Park to host our England vs Italy International.
Full Time: England (Home) 3 - 7 Italy (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Kavi Hewavitarne
Man of the Match Away: Maurizio Boi
Moment of the Match: Naseem Abdelkhaleq
Home Team: Andy Davies, Steve Wright, Glen Phillimore, Philip Spencer (C), Steven Jarrett, Kevin Watts, Spencer Smith, Jack Churchill, Kavi Hewavitarne, Graham Sass, Paul Hogarth, Dan Foster, Naseem Abdelkhaleq
Home Mascots: Harry Churchill & Max Spencer
Away Team: Jonathan Del Sordo, Mike Hardy, Paul Zacaroli, Daniel Green, Colin Griffiths, Gabriele Buscicchio, Cédric Boi, Patrick Rossi, Matthew Zacharoli, Alessandro Nihil, Maurizio Boi (C), John Dunkley, Andy Renda
Match Report written by Matt Annis