Finland 1-2 Italy: Jorginho keeps Mancini's men perfect

Italy are sitting pretty at the top of Group J with six wins from six games, but they were made to work hard by a determined Finland side.

Italy's team that saw off Finland   -  Getty Images

Italy continued their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying as Jorginho's late penalty secured a 2-1 win over Finland at Tammela Stadion on Sunday.

The hosts had looked like they would gain a vital point after Teemu Pukki cancelled out Ciro Immobile's header from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho had the final say, though, slotting home from 12 yards with 11 minutes remaining.

The goal means Italy have won all six of their Group J qualifiers and sit six points ahead of second-placed Finland and nine above Armenia in third.

Finland started in positive fashion and almost went ahead in the fourth minute when Joona Toivio scooped narrowly over at the back post from a corner.

The hosts kept their more illustrious opponents at arm's length in the opening 30 minutes, although they were indebted to a wonderful save from Lukas Hradecky to keep out Stefano Sensi's 18-yard volley.

Immobile then went close for the visitors, glancing a header wide of Hradecky's far post from Federico Chiesa's teasing right-wing cross.

Italy continued to crank up the pressure as half-time approached, with Sensi flashing wide from distance and Hradecky blocking Chiesa's effort from an acute angle.

Mancini's men started the second half as they finished the first but had to wait until the 59th minute to break the deadlock.

Chiesa's cross from the right found Immobile at the back post and the Lazio striker made no mistake, thumping a header in off the underside of the crossbar.

Finland improbably found a way back into the game 18 minutes from time when Pukki clipped home from the spot after he had been tripped in the area by Sensi.

Italy responded well, though, and secured all three points when Jorginho beat Hradecky from 12 yards after Sauli Vaisanen was adjudged to have blocked Nicolo Barella's shot with his arm.

What does it mean? Italy are finals-bound but were made to sweat

With a nine-point lead over third place in their group and just four games remaining, it would take something remarkable for Italy to not qualify for next year's tournament. They were far from outstanding against a dogged Finland side, but were good value for maximum points.

Immobile ends barren spell in style

Making his first appearance for Italy since the 2-0 win over Finland on March 23, Immobile proved a constant headache for the Finnish backline. His goal was his first for his country since September 2017.

Sensi's senseless intervention almost derails Italy

The Inter midfielder put in an outstanding shift in the middle of the pitch but came so close to ruining all his good work with the clumsy foul that led to Finland's equaliser. He owes Jorginho one.

What's next?

Italy's Group J campaign continues on October 12 when Greece travel to Rome, while Finland face a trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina on the same day.

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