Quagliarella Makes History In Italy Win, Morata Double Lifts Spain

Mar 27 - by AFP for SportPesa News

The Sampdoria player becomes the oldest player ever to score for Italy aged 36 years and 54 days, overtaking Christian Panucci, who scored aged 35 years in 2008

Fabio Quagliarella of Italy gestures during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group J qualifying match between Italy and Liechtenstein at Ennio Tardini on March 26, 2019 in Parma, Italy. PHOTO/GettyImages

  • Fabio Quagliarella became the oldest ever player to score for Italy as the 36-year-old converted two penalties in a crushing 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win by the Azzurri over Liechtenstein on Tuesday
  • Italy top Group J with six points after beating Finland 2-0 in Udine on Saturday with goals from Nicolo Barella and Moise Kean
  • Alvaro Morata's remarkable revival continued on Tuesday as he scored twice for Spain in a 2-0 victory over Malta
  • After edging past Norway 2-1 on Saturday, Morata's double at the Ta'Qali stadium gives Spain two wins from two in Euro 2020 qualifying and the perfect start in Group F

PARMA, Italy- Fabio Quagliarella became the oldest ever player to score for Italy as the 36-year-old converted two penalties in a crushing 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win by the Azzurri over Liechtenstein on Tuesday.

Italy top Group J with six points after beating Finland 2-0 in Udine on Saturday with goals from Nicolo Barella and Moise Kean.

Bosnia threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Greece and both are behind Italy on four points followed by Finland on three.

"Mission accomplished," said Italy coach Roberto Mancini. "The result was obvious, but it was important that we score goals."

Top Serie A scorer Quagliarella converted a penalty after 35 minutes, adding a second, also from the spot, just before the break.

The Sampdoria player becomes the oldest player ever to score for Italy aged 36 years and 54 days, overtaking Christian Panucci, who scored aged 35 years in 2008.

Stefano Sensi had headed Italy in front after 17 minutes with Marco Verratti adding a second after 32 minutes.

Kean, 19, nodded in his second Italy goal on 69 minutes with substitute Leonardo Pavoletti, 30, who got his first Italy start in the second half to replace Quagliarella, adding a sixth minutes afterwards.

Mancini made seven changes to the side that beat Finland with defender Cristiano Piccini and forward Stephan El Shaarawy injured. 

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Sensi and Quagliarella stepped in for Barella and Ciro Immobile, alongside Kean who was given his second Italy start.

Quagliarella has earned his recall after nearly nine years thanks to his 21 goals in 28 league games, two more than Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has managed for Juventus.

The veteran striker was denied early before Leonardo Spinazzola set up Senzi to head in for his first senior Italy goal after 17 minutes.

Verratti broke through to curl in the second after 32 minutes for his second goal in the Azzurri jersey.

Italy were awarded a penalty for a Nicolas Hasler handball and Quagliarella made no mistake.

A searing Kean effort clipped the bar before Liechtenstein's Daniel Kaufmann was sent off for handling a Verratti clearance with Quagliarella taking the second penalty on 43 minutes.

Pavoletti got his senior Azzurri debut and Quagliarella received a standing ovation as he left the Stadio Tardini pitch. 

Four minutes later the Cagliari forward completed the rout off a rebound.

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Alvaro Morata's remarkable revival continued on Tuesday as he scored twice for Spain in a 2-0 victory over Malta. 

After edging past Norway 2-1 on Saturday, Morata's double at the Ta'Qali stadium gives Spain two wins from two in Euro 2020 qualifying and the perfect start in Group F. 

Luis Enrique's side again showed the inability to convert possession into chances that clouded their early exit from last year's World Cup. 

But Morata's brace offers room for encouragement, the striker extending his return to form since he joined Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea in January. 

He has five goals in six games, his best return since September 2017, and has strengthened his case for a position that has proved so troublesome for Spain in recent years.

"The boss knows how happy I am to be here and I am grateful to him," Morata said. "We want to qualify as soon as possible for the Euros so it was important to win today."

Malta lie 182nd in FIFA's world rankings, between Liechtenstein and Macau. Their win over the Faroe Islands last weekend was their first in 17 matches and only their second in almost four years. 

Luis Enrique was absent for "personal reasons", leaving his assistant Robert Moreno in charge on the touchline. 

There were unfamiliar faces on the pitch too as only three players - Sergio Ramos, Morata and Marco Asensio - retained their places in a much-changed line-up from the team that beat Norway. 

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Six of Spain's starting 11 owned five caps or fewer, including Real Betis' attacking midfielder Sergio Canales and Mario Hermoso, the 23-year-old Espanyol defender linked with a summer move to Real Madrid.

Morata's first, shortly after the half-hour, owed much to Malta's goalkeeper Henry Bonello, who failed to stop the forward's scuffed finish after Hermoso's clipped pass over the top. 

Sergi Roberto's cross almost gave Morata his second, only for the glancing header to flash wide, but he did not have long to wait. 

Jesus Navas delivered another ball to the back post in the 73rd minute and this time Morata made no mistake.