North Macedonia haunt Italy again in Euro draw


Last updated on .From the section Football

Ciro Immobile scores his 17th goal for Italy
Ciro Immobile’s goal was his 17th for Italy, the most of any player in the current squad

Italy again suffered at the hands of North Macedonia as their poor start to European Championship qualifying continued with a shock draw in Skopje.

Ciro Immobile nodded the Azzurri ahead in new boss Luciano Spalletti’s first game in charge.

But Enis Bardhi’s 20-yard free-kick earned a point for the hosts, who upset Italy in the World Cup 2022 play-offs.

The draw means reigning European champions Italy face an uphill task to reach next year’s finals in Germany.

The Euro 2020 winners sit third in Group C, level on four points with North Macedonia and three behind Ukraine, who the Azzurri host in a now hugely important qualifier at the San Siro on Tuesday.

Italy do have a game in hand on Ukraine but must still play away to both Serhiy Rebrov’s team and group leaders England – whom they beat in the last European final – in two of their last three qualifying matches.

They were lucky not to fall behind early on against North Macedonia as Aberdeen midfielder Bojan Miovski headed wide from former Leeds winger Ezgjan Alioski’s cross.

Sandro Tonali hit the post as Italy responded, and when Immobile headed home from close range after the break it seemed there would be a winning start for 64-year-old Spalletti – the man who led Napoli to their first Serie A title in 33 years in May and replaced Roberto Mancini as Azzurri boss in August.

However, North Macedonia produced arguably one of the biggest international football shocks of all time with a 1-0 win in Palermo 18 months ago that ensured Italy would miss the World Cup finals in Qatar.

They channelled a similar spirit to level nine minutes from time on this occasion when Bardhi curled an exquisite set-piece out of the reach of Gianluigi Donnarumma.


North Macedonia

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Dimitrievski
  • 15ManevBooked at 68mins
  • 4Zajkov
  • 6MusliuSubstituted forSerafimovat 78′minutes
  • 3AshkovskiSubstituted forDimoskiat 74′minutes
  • 17EleziSubstituted forAlimiat 74′minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 11AtanasovSubstituted forIljazovskiat 90+1′minutes
  • 8Alioski
  • 10Bardhi
  • 20Miovski
  • 7Elmas


  • 2Iljazovski
  • 5Ademi
  • 9Trajkovski
  • 12Aleksovski
  • 13Doriev
  • 14Serafimov
  • 16Babunski
  • 18Alimi
  • 19Ristovski
  • 21Dimoski
  • 22Shishkovski
  • 23Nestorovski


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1G Donnarumma
  • 2Di Lorenzo
  • 14ManciniSubstituted forScalviniat 59′minutes
  • 23Bastoni
  • 3DimarcoBooked at 70minsSubstituted forBiraghiat 82′minutes
  • 18Barella
  • 16Cristante
  • 8TonaliBooked at 75minsSubstituted forRaspadoriat 89′minutes
  • 7PolitanoSubstituted forZanioloat 45′minutesBooked at 79mins
  • 17Immobile
  • 20ZaccagniSubstituted forGnontoat 82′minutes


  • 4Biraghi
  • 5Locatelli
  • 6Romagnoli
  • 9Retegui
  • 10Raspadori
  • 11Gnonto
  • 12Vicario
  • 13Darmian
  • 15Scalvini
  • 19Frattesi
  • 21Meret
  • 22Zaniolo

François Letexier

Live Text

  1. Match ends, North Macedonia 1, Italy 1.

  2. Second Half ends, North Macedonia 1, Italy 1.

  3. Foul by Cristiano Biraghi (Italy).

  4. Bojan Miovski (North Macedonia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Foul by Bojan Dimoski (North Macedonia).

  7. Attempt saved. Giorgio Scalvini (Italy) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  8. Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  9. Delay in match because of an injury Jovan Manev (North Macedonia).

  10. Attempt missed. Nikola Serafimov (North Macedonia) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski with a cross following a corner.

  11. Substitution, North Macedonia. Ahmed Iljazovski replaces Jani Atanasov.

  12. Corner, North Macedonia. Conceded by Bryan Cristante.

  13. Foul by Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy).

  14. Ezgjan Alioski (North Macedonia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Substitution, Italy. Giacomo Raspadori replaces Sandro Tonali.

  16. Isnik Alimi (North Macedonia) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Foul by Bojan Dimoski (North Macedonia).

  19. Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  20. Delay in match because of an injury Jani Atanasov (North Macedonia).

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