Under 21 mocked in the final

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A bitter ending marked the European Under-21 qualifying match for Italy, which saw an almost assured victory slip away at the 'Paolo Mazza' in Ferrara. Despite dominating the field, Italy conceded its first home goal in the qualifier, an unexpected blow that led to the loss of two crucial points. Luciano Spalletti, who was present in the stands, witnessed the equalizer reached by Turkey in the final minutes, with Kilicsoy’s goal cancelling out the earlier lead given by Daniele Ghilardi’s goal. This late goal by Turkey erased the efforts of Italy, which in the first half had seen its goalkeeper, Desplanches, parry a penalty kick to Yildirim.

The path to the final stage of the tournament, to be held in Slovakia in 2025, remains uncertain; Italy retains the lead in the group but by a narrow margin: only two points separate it from Ireland and three from Norway, with both teams having a game to make up. Kilicsoy’s late goal thus reignited the competition in the group, leaving the fight for qualification open. The Azzurrini, called upon to bounce back from the blow they suffered, have a busy autumn ahead of them with decisive matches: they will host San Marino in September, then visit Norway and conclude in October against Ireland, in a series of matches that promises to be decisive for their fate in the tournament.

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