Sport

Balotelli showed Italy his worth with goalscoring return

Mario Balotelli marked his first appearance for Italy in nearly four years with a goal as Roberto Mancini kicked off his tenure with a 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia.

The former Manchester City boss included Balotelli in his starting XI for the international friendly as he looked to put his own stamp on the ‘Azzurri’.

It proved ingenious when the striker skipped past a Saudi defender on the edge-of-the-area before firing home the opener from 20 yards.

Italy then went two goals good thanks to Torino’s Andrea Belotti in the second half and they looked to be cruising.

Saudi Arabia pulled one back four minutes later though which Gianluigi Buffon’s replacement Donnarumma could do little about.

The shot-stopper was left stranded when Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta conceded possession, allowing Al Shehri to score a consolation.

However, at least it was a winning start for Mancini who will now face tougher opposition in France (Friday) and the Netherlands (June 6).

 

 

 

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