England's under-20s put on a show in entertaining friendly draw against Italy at Chesterfield's Technique Stadium
England’s under-20s and Italy played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in a friendly at the Technique Stadium.
In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 6,394, highly-rated AC Milan striker Daniel Maldini, 19, son of the legendary defender Paolo, put Italy ahead on 34 minutes.
But England responded before half-time through Leeds United’s Lewis Bate with his club manager Marcelo Bielsa watching on from the stands.
Before kick-off a minute’s applause was held for 1966 World Cup winning legends Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt.
Both teams took the knee and received warm support from all four sides of the Technique.
After some early England possession, the first big chance of the game came on 16 minutes when Manchester City’s James McAtee slipped in Sam Greenwood of Leeds United but the forward’s near post strike was kept out by Italy goalkeeper Ludovico Gelmi.
The Azzurri stopper was called into action again two minutes later to block Chelsea’s Faustino Anjorin’s close-range effort.
The visitors responded with a lovely curling attempt from the edge of the area from Pio Gaetano Oristanio which narrowly went over.
After a scrappy period of play it was Italy who took the lead 11 minutes before half-time when Maldini headed in at the far post from Oristanio’s cross from the right.
But the Young Lions were not behind for long as they equalised four minutes before the break when star man Bate swept home a loose ball in the box.
It was a lively start to the second half with a chance at both ends in the first three minutes.
First, England’s Jaden Philogene Bidace dragged wide from inside the area after a mazy run.
However, the better opportunity fell to Nikola Sekulov who blasted wide when clear through on goal.
Next, Young Lions goalkeeper James Trafford, of Manchester City but on loan at Accrington Stanley, made a superb fingertip save from Oristanio’s powerful drive.
Unfortunately, the impressive Bate was forced off injured with just over 15 minutes remaining.
England came close twice in a minute to retaking the lead when Greenwood’s free-kick clipped the post and then Gelmi came rushing off his line to block from Bidace.
The Young Lions looked more likely to find a winner but they could not find a breakthrough.