FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - Vincenzo Grifo scored his first two international goals at the age of 27 to help a makeshift Italy side, missing coach Roberto Mancini due to a COVID-19 infection, to a 4-0 friendly win over Estonia on Wednesday.
Assistant coach Alberico Evani took charge of the side while Mancini passed instructions from his home in Rome where the 55-year-old is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.
Italy, who extended their unbeaten run to 20 games, had called up a 41-man squad for the match and Nations Leagues games against Poland and Bosnia, using the game to give a run-out to less experienced players.
Alessandro Bastoni was given his debut in the centre of defence while Grifo, born in Germany to Italian parents and who has spent his entire career in the Bundesliga, was handed his fourth cap.
“It was a game where we had everything to lose but we did what we needed to do,” Evani said. “We tried to play, but we learned a few things and there is an extraordinary human quality in this squad.”
The first goal came in style as Grifo scored with a half-volley from 25 metres which flew in off the foot of the post after 14 minutes.
Federico Bernardeschi, struggling for form at Juventus, cut inside and scored the second with a low shot inside the near post 13 minutes later.
Grifo converted a penalty in the 75th minute after a foul on Roberto Gagliardini before substitute Riccardo Orsolini won and converted another penalty in the 86th minute to make it two goals in as many international appearances.
Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond
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