Federico Chiesa scored an extra-time goal as Italy beat Austria 2-1 in London to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2020 European Championship on Saturday night.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy came into the match having won 11 in a row and unbeaten in their last 30 games — and set an Azzurri record on 31 with the win — as they looked to book a spot in the quarterfinals.
Italy were the better side in the first half, but failed to find an opener with Ciro Immobile going closest on a shot from distance that clattered off the far post as the teams went to the dressing room locked in a goalless draw at the break.
Marko Anrautovic looked to have headed Austria into the lead shortly after the hour mark, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for the narrowest of offside calls and the match remained goalless.
Austria skipper David Alaba curled a free kick just over the bar and it all began to get a little fraught for Italy when Xaver Schlager and Arnautovic both went close.
Austria were the better side after the VAR ruling, but Italy managed to keep them from scoring and the match went to extra time.
The Azzurri had swaggered their way through their group games in Rome, scoring seven unanswered goals, and Mancini’s side began in slick fashion on a perfect night for football.
With powerhouse wing back Leonardo Spinazzola marauding down the left flank at every opportunity, Austria manager Franco Foda’s pre-match assertion that his side had a 10% chance of stopping the Azzurri machine looked about right.
Substitute Chiesa put Italy in front in the first of two 15-minute extra time periods, firing home from a tight angle to put Italy in a great position to advance from the round of 16.
Matteo Pessina then scored Italy’s second in stoppage time, beating keeper Daniel Bachmann after a goalmouth scramble and it turned out to be a big one after Austria’s Sasa Kalajdzic headed home from a corner to halve the deficit.
The goal from Kalajdzic ended Italy’s streak of going 1,168 minutes without conceding.
Italy will now play the winner of Sunday’s match between Belgium and Portugal in their quarterfinal next Friday in Munich.