Sensi, Immobile continue Italy's perfect start to World Cup qualifying


Italy continued their 100 per cent start to FIFA World Cup qualifying as Stefano Sensi and Ciro Immobile sealed a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

With main rivals Switzerland not in action on Thursday (AEDT), Roberto Mancini's side capitalised to take a three-point lead at the top of Group C.

Sensi's 47th-minute effort put them ahead, with Immobile, who had squandered several gilt-edged chances, scoring a penalty with the final kick of the game.

Immobile's previous profligacy would have proved costly if not for Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy's goalkeeper producing a fantastic save from Tautvydas Eliosius to set the stage for the Lazio forward to make amends from the spot late on.

Italy took their time to get going against Bulgaria last time out and were similarly slow off the mark this time around.

Indeed, it was the 39th minute when they first crafted a real opening – Stephan El Shaarawy unable to divert Matteo Pessina's cross goalwards.

With Emerson testing Tomas Svedkauskas before half-time, Italy clicked into gear after the restart.

Federico Chiesa saw an effort well saved by Svedkauskas, who was unable to prevent Sensi finding the bottom-left corner.

Svedkauskas made a superb double-save to stop Italy extending their lead moments later, denying Pessina and Immobile in quick succession.

Lithuania's goalkeeper came out on top against Immobile twice more either side of the hour mark, making smart stops at his near post.

Immobile headed wide soon after and Italy would have been punished if not for Donnarumma, who spread himself to deny Eliosius.

A reprieve for Immobile came in stoppage time when Donatas Kazlauskas fouled Nicolo Barella, and Italy's striker duly wrapped up a fifth straight 2-0 win.

Source Omnisport