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Lithuania v Italy Live Commentary, 31/03/2021

0 - 2
S. Sensi (47)
C. Immobile (90+4 pen)
Vilniaus LFF stadionas


It's a perfect international break for Italy then who look well on track for World Cup qualification. It's hard to see who will supplant them in Group C at the moment, but let's see how they fare against Switzerland in September. That's all for now. Goodbye!
Italy thoroughly deserve this win even though Lithuania made them work for it. Mancini's team had a whopping 29 shots in the match, but found Svedkauskas in fine form with the keeper making a series of great saves. Lithuania go bottom of Group C after Northern Ireland's 0-0 draw with Bulgaria, having lost their first two games.
Italy claim their third successive 2-0 win to go three points clear at the top of Group C for now. The visitors were the better side throughout and really upped their game after half-time, spurred by Mancini's half-time changes. Sensi's goal early in the second half broke Lithuania's resistance, and Italy weathered a few close calls before Immobile finally saw the hosts off.
C. Immobile
Penalty Goal
90' + 4' GOAL! LITHUANIA 0-2 ITALY! Immobile secures the three points for Italy with the last kick of the game. The Lazio man finally beats Svedkauskas, dispatching the penalty low beyond the keeper's reach.
D. Kazlauskas
Yellow Card
90' + 4' Kazlauskas is booked for that crude challenge on Barella. Immobile steps up to take the penalty...
90' + 3' PENALTY FOR ITALY! Italy have the chance to finally seal this win. Chiesa goes down in the box The referee isn't interested until Kazlauskas brings down Barella slightly further out. It's still inside the area. It's still a penalty.
90' + 2' Chiesa goes for glory, cutting onto his left foot to lash wide from inside the D. Italy won't mind knocking a few more seconds off the clock.
90' The officials indicate a minimum of four added minutes. Lithuania don't look like scoring but stranger things have happened.
F. Acerbi
A. Bastoni
89' Bastoni's taken off as a precaution. The Lazio centre-back Acerbi takes his place for Italy for the last few minutes of this game.
88' Bastoni earns a timely free-kick for Italy as Kazlauskas leans into him, causing the Italy defender to topple over onto his back. Italy are taking no chances.
86' Petravicius strikes the crossbar with Donnarumma beaten. Fortunately for Italy the forward's offside from Beneta's pass after Beneta had a shot blocked. Petravicius had a speculative effort of his own denied prior to Locatelli's point-blank punt.
84' Italy still can't find that crucial second goal! Bernardeschi teases his way past Vaitkunas to roll the ball across the face of goal. Locatelli shoots straight at Svedkauskas from close range.
D. Petravičius
D. Šimkus
83' Lithuania substitution. Simkus off. Petravicius on.
82' As long as this game stays 1-0 Italy are vulnerable. They're still in control for the time being though. Now might be the time for them to shut the game down.
80' Svedkauskas does not want to let Immobile score. The Lithuania keeper denies the Italy captain again as Immobile strikes high from the centre of the box. Lithuania charge down Bernardeschi's follow-up.
78' Lithuania have dragged themselves back into the game in the last 10 minutes. The Italy onslaught appears to be over. Italy suddenly seem a bit nervy.
77' Novikovas draws a routine save from Donnarumma as he has a try at goal from outside the box.
E. Vaitkūnas
Yellow Card
76' Vaitkunas is the next player to find himself in the book for a poor challenge on Barella.
D. Kazlauskas
F. Černych
74' Chernykh has to go off. The winger Kazlauskas replaces him.
V. Gašpuitis
S. Mikoliūnas
74' Lithuania make another change. Mikoliunas, who's had a torrid time since Spinazzola came on, is replaced by Gaspuitis.
73' Chernykh is still smarting from that Locatelli challenge. It looks like he'll be unable to shake it off.
72' Lithuania almost equalise! Eliosius receives a lofted pass into the box and aims for the bottom left corner from inside the six-yard box. Donnarumma makes a vital stop. Lithuania get the corner.
M. Locatelli
Yellow Card
71' Locatelli's booked for that foul, ruling him out of Italy's next qualifier. Italy surround the referee who makes his case.
70' Locatelli reaches for a bouncing ball and takes out the arriving Chernykh. The referee will show a card.
68' Immobile's goal just won't come yet! Spinazzola beats Mikoliunas down the left and cuts back for Immobile whose effort is inches away from sneaking into the bottom corner. Surely the Italy captain will bury one of these chances sooner or later.
66' Chance for Lithuania! Chernykh makes a late run into the centre of the box to glance a header wide from Novikovas' cross. The striker knows he should have at least got that on target as chances for his team won't come around often.
64' Immobile races through on goal again and lures Svedkauskas out wide to make the block. It's an Italy corner. The visitors have not let up since half-time. They know a second goal would surely kill this game.
N. Barella
M. Pessina
62' Here's that fourth Italy change. Barella replaces Pessina in central midfield.
62' Italy are preparing another substitution. No doubt Mancini is keen to protect his players after three games in the space of a week.
60' Italy keep on coming. Not long after Spinazzola fires high and wide to the right after cutting into the left of the box, the visitors get a corner off Mikoliunas. Lithuania survive it, blocking Bastoni's header.
T. Eliošius
G. Sirgedas
58' Lithuania make a substitution as they suddenly find themselves overrun. Eliosius is on for Sirgedas.
57' Italy spurn another chance to double their lead. Immobile shimmies into the box and drags an effort just wide of the right-hand post.
L. Spinazzola
56' Italy make a third change and it's like-for-like. Spinazzola comes on for Emerson.
55' Italy are suddenly raining shots on Lithuania's goal. Locatelli makes a fine connection with Bernardeschi's cross, sending a shot back across goal towards the bottom right corner. Svedkauskas is just able to keep it out.
54' Italy have had twice as many shots on target in the opening 10 minutes of this half then they did in the whole of the first. They have undoubtedly gone up a gear since the break.
52' Novikovas carries Lithuania upfield and wins a corner off Bastoni. Italy see it out.
50' The floodgates look like they might open now. Italy force Svedkauskas into two saves in quick succession as the keeper keeps out Pessina and Immobile from the centre of the box.
49' That goal was exactly what Italy needed. Bernardeschi has another pop from range and is whiskers away from finding the top right corner.
S. Sensi
47' GOAL! LITHUANIA 0-1 ITALY! Sensi's impact is immediate! The Inter midfielder receives a pass from Locatelli just outside the box and swerves a lovely shot past Svedkauskas into the bottom left corner.
M. Locatelli
47' All Locatelli had to do there was set Sensi up but that takes nothing away from Sensi's finish. It was magnificent.
47' Italy are playing faster already. Chiesa gets a shot away just inside the box and Svedkauskas positions himself well to stop it.
46' Lithuania get the second half going. They've decided not to make changes yet.
S. Sensi
L. Pellegrini
46' Pellegrini also makes way for Sensi. Let's see if Italy improve after these two changes.
F. Chiesa
S. El Shaarawy
46' Mancini clearly isn't content with what he's just seen. Italy make two changes at the break. The first sees Chiesa replaces El Shaarawy.
Italy had 12 shots to Lithuania's two in that first half but only two of the visitors' shots were on target. Lithuania have done a good job of limiting Italy to potshots from distance. Mancini will want to see more patience from his side in the second half.
It's all square at the break between Lithuania and Italy. Italy have been on the front foot so far but have looked a little laboured, as you might expect of a team that's made 10 changes to their line-up. Lithuania have done little in attack but have worked hard to keep things level.
45' + 1' Bastoni's pass to Toloi is loose and Sirgedas is within his rights to go for it. Toloi trips the winger and Lithuania get the free-kick.
45' There'll be two minutes added on before the half-time break.
44' Locatelli telegraphs a crossfield pass to Emerson and Lithuania end up getting the throw-in. Lithuania will be pleased with how this first half has gone.
43' Italy are still looking for the opening goal as we approach half-time. Toloi's cross is blocked by Vaitkunas.
41' Emerson lets rip with his left foot from outside the box. Svedkauskas gets across to tip it over and stop it from hitting the top left corner. Italy have a corner which Mancini nods wide from a tight angle.
39' Italy are starting to break Lithuania down more easily. El Shaaraway can't control Bernardeschi's cross with his head. The ball almost comes to Immobile inside the six-yard box but the hosts manage to get the ball away.
38' El Shaarawy latches onto a vertical pass and fizzes it straight across the face of goal. No Italian player can make the most of it.
37' Italy deal with Novikovas' corner easily but the hosts soon win another one. Girdvainis' header is off-target and Lithuania use it to keep the ball briefly.
36' Lithuania force their first corner of the game down their left. Novikovas comes across to take it.
35' Immobile peels off his man to test Svedkauskas from just outside the six-yard box. Svedkauskas passes the test with a fine save but Immobile's offside anyway.
34' Bernardeschi tumbles over as he enters the box from the right. The referee squats down on his haunches and decides not to give a penalty kick.
34' Italy have had 73 per cent possession so far. The traffic has been very much one way but it's quite slow.
33' Chernykh pressures Donnarumma into slipping as he makes a clearance, forcing him to pass straight to a Lithuania player. The hosts can do nothing with it though.
M. Pessina
Yellow Card
32' Once Pessina has recovered he's shocked to see the referee show him a yellow card. No one else is.
31' Pessina makes a nasty tackle on Chernykh that leaves both players writhing in pain on the grass. Thankfully it looks worse than it is.
30' Emerson approaches the penalty area and lays off to Locatelli who switches the play. Bernardeschi sends the ball high into the box and Mikoliunas beats El Shaarawy to the header.
29' Bernardeschi swivels wonderfully inside from the right flank to keep Italy moving. Unfortunately he ends up losing the ball but that was a lovely piece of skill.
D. Šimkus
Yellow Card
27' Simkus is booked for that foul on Bastoni. After a few seconds on the turf Bastoni is fine.
26' Donnarumma ventures out of his box, getting himself into trouble. Bastoni arrives on the scene to help his keeper out and Simkus rashly slides in to win the ball. Italy free-kick.
24' Svedkauskas races out of his goal to catch an Emerson cross. Italy are undoubtedly on top but haven't really worried Lithuania yet.
23' Italy continue their positional dominance. Lithuania are barely able to get out of their defensive third. Locatelli misjudges a pass out wide to Emerson and the hosts get a throw-in.
22' Bernardeschi sends his corner to the far post where Mancini is lurking. Lithuania hook it clear. The offside flag goes up against Bernardeschi seconds later.
21' Emerson crosses from the left and it briefly causes confusion in Lithuania's penalty area. Bernardeschi's follow-up is blocked. El Shaarawy has another try shortly after and Italy get a corner out of it.
19' El Shaarawy is the latest Italy player to fire over from an improbable distance. Italy seem a little too eager to shoot at the moment.
17' Immobile receives a pass in the box and lays off to El Shaarawy who smacks it towards goal. A Lithuania defender gets in the way.
15' Slivka beats Toloi to an aerial ball and keeps it in play near the corner flag. Lithuania can't create a clear opportunity from it as Novikovas has a shot blocked from the left of the box then strays offside. It's the first time the hosts have shown any kind of attacking threat so far.
L. Pellegrini
Yellow Card
14' Pellegrini earns himself a yellow card for that challenge. Slivka soon gets to his feet.
13' Pellegrini has a forward pass intercepted by Slivka and slides in to redeem himself. The midfielder mistimes his challenge. It's an obvious foul.
11' Bernardeschi plays a nice one-two with Pessina to dart into the box, crossing from the byline. It's too close to Svedkauskas who quickly smothers it.
9' Lithuania haven't had a sniff of the ball yet. Pellegrini goes for goal again from distance and it whistles way over the crossbar.
7' Bernardeschi swings the corner in. It comes out to Emerson who aims for the bottom left corner. Svedkauskas claims his effort comfortably. Italy have made a good start to this game.
6' Chance for Italy! Pellegrini picks up possession outside the box and scoops it straight towards goal. It dips just in front of Lithuania's goalkeeper Svedkauskas who tips it to his left. Italy get their first corner of the game
4' Italy are looking confident. Toloi plays a direct pass towards Bernardeschi. Girdvainis gets in front of the winger to cut it out.
2' Italy push forward from the kick-off. El Shaarawy looks to cross from the left of the box but Lithuania's captain Mikoliunas is there to block. The visitors retain possession and Locatelli has a shot from range closed down.
1' The Polish referee Pawel Raczkowski blows his whistle and Immobile gets this game underway!
The two teams are out on the pitch in Vilnius. They stand huddled to sing their respective national anthems. Both are pretty stirring as national anthems go.
Italy are massive favourites to win here. The Italians haven't lost a single game since 2018 with their unbeaten streak currently at 24 consecutive games and counting. If Lithuania get a point against the group leaders they will be delighted. Mancini will want to see his side do a professional job here and move on.
There are two changes to Lithuania from their defeat to Switzerland three days ago. Girdvainis and Sirgedas start for the hosts. Italy change their team far more drastically from their win over Bulgaria, replacing every single outfield player. Their goalkeeper Donnarumma is the only constant.
SUBS: Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leonardo Bonucci, Nicolo Barella, Leonardo Spinazzola, Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa, Manuel Lazzari, Salvatore Sirigu, Andrea Belotti, Francesco Acerbi, Stefano Sensi, Alex Meret.
ITALY (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Rafael Toloi, Gianluca Mancini, Alessandro Bastoni, Emerson; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Manuel Locatelli, Matteo Pessina; Federico Bernardeschi, Ciro Immobile (c), Stephan El Shaarawy.
SUBS: Vytas Gaspuitis, Justas Lasickas, Karolis Laukzemis, Nerijus Valskis, Karolis Silkaitis, Ignas Driomovas, Deimantas Petravicius, Marius Adamonis, Tautvydas Eliosius, Rolandas Baravykas, Donatas Kazlauskas, Daniel Romanovskij.
LITHUANIA (4-3-2-1): Tomas Svedkauskas; Saulius Mikoliunas (c), Markas Beneta, Edvinas Girdvainis, Egidijus Vaitkunas; Martynas Dapkus, Domantas Simkus, Vykintas Slivka; Arvydas Novikovas, Gratas Sirgedas; Fedor Chernykh.
Italy are firm favourites to win Group C and are playing like it, notching 2-0 wins against Northern Ireland and Bulgaria so far. With Switzerland level with them on six points but not playing their next qualifier until September now, the Italians will welcome the chance to resume things in the autumn three points better off than their closest rivals in the group.
Lithuania's World Cup qualifying campaign got off to a false start as Valdas Urbonas' team lost 1-0 to Switzerland in St. Gallen a few days ago courtesy of an early Xherdan Shaqiri strike. Thankfully they now have another chance to get points on the board as they welcome Roberto Mancini's Italy to Vilnius.
Hello! Welcome to our live text commentary of this 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification UEFA Group C match between Lithuania and Italy at LFF Stadionas, Vilnius.