NAIROBI, Kenya, April 18 – Super sub Francesco Zottino notched a brace in the second half to help visiting Italy Under-18 side beat Gor Mahia Under-19 3-1 in a friendly match played at Safaricom Kasarani Stadium on Good Friday.
Dellovo Andrea netted the opener in the 12th minute before Francesco found the back of the net twice in the 60th and 65th with Cliff Nyakeya scoring the consolation ten minutes later to seal the result.
This was the last build up match for the Azurri who completed their three day tour in the country after playing to a 3-3 draw with Kenya Under-20 on Wednesday at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
K’Ogalo juniors who play in the Nairobi County League and have won all their matches thus far succumbed to a superior side but valuable lessons will be learned from testing their might against the Italians.
“We have tried since we assembled the team one month ago, so we had a short time to prepare but I appreciate the boy gave their best and we lost to a better side. I believe the Italian side has vibrant structures from the academy level that has enabled them to play together for long.
“None of my players has played in the Kenyan premier league so with time I believe we will put brilliant performance if we continue to play with big teams like Italy and today’s friendly match was a good exposure. The opponent was good in set pieces and I need to coach my boys on how to mark when we lose the ball,” Gor coach Maurice Onyango said after the match.
“Today we played better because we did not lose the ball and we chose the best format of play. I’m very happy with the boys because that was good results, we had to build a new tactic after drawing our first match against Kenya-Under 20,” the Italy coach Massimiliano Moras stated.
The host started brightly and had the first attempt in the opening minutes but Emmanuel Olinga’s shot from a Hajji Achkobe cross was saved by Italian custodian Dini Andrea.
The visitors went ahead in the 12th after Dellovo unleashed a low shot into the back of the net from inside the box.
In the half hour mark, Cliff Nyakeya could have leveled when he beat defenders but Dini cleared the danger with his left foot before keeper Vincent Odhiambo produced a fine save from Burzaghi Riccardo’s free header with the ball rattling off the crossbar for a fruitless corner in the 43rd to see Gor trail 0-1 into the breather.
In the second period, Moras introduced Francesco for Tomanin Thomas and the forward changed the Italian game as he doubled in the 65th after heading home Delloro’s cross from the left wing.
He was at it again five minutes later after beating the back four to net his brace and the third goal for Italy.
Nyakeya scored the consolation goal in the 75th as he went on to miss a clear chance in the dying minutes when his attempt went straight to Dini before the centre referee blew the final whistle for the visitors to win 3-1.