RIGA. Heart, character, spirit of sacrifice and a monumental Justin Fazio: against Latvia we see the best Italy of this beginning of the World Cup. The Azzurri bow 3-0 against the hosts, but suffer the last two goals in the final seconds with an empty net and previously touched a sensational draw. The 1-1 goal by Alex Petan, in fact, is canceled due to a millimeter offside. The episode makes the pill a little bit more bitter, but Italy comes out of the ice of the Arena Riga with a very high head, at the end of a strong test.
No significant news regarding the line-up. Coach Greg Ireland decides to wait for a match before throwing newcomer Markus Gander into the fray, returning from three weeks of absolute rest due to positivity at Covid-19, while Justin Fazio is always in defense of the cage. Some small adjustments concern the advanced department, which cannot yet count on Marco Rosa, struggling with the after-effects of the blow to the head remedied in the debut match against Germany. Miceli and Frigo exchange lines, with the first returning with Frank and Petan, and the second climbing with Bardaro and Magnabosco. In the first half, the Azzurri held up very well against Latvia, fresh from a historic victory against Canada but also from a knockout on penalties against the surprise Kazakhstan. Coach Bob Hartley’s team pushes on the gas from the start, Fazio is confident and reactive, and the home team’s rearguard also gives space to the Italian restart, some of which are also dangerous. On the other hand, the blue goalkeeper is superb with the upper on Kenins, and is also good at stopping the solitary thrusts of Abols and Karsums. Shortly after half-time Latvia would score with an unfortunate deflection by Miglioranzi, but the goal was canceled due to a previous obstruction against the goalkeeper.
Battaglia from Hochkofler e Indrasis (Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF – IIHF)
The second fraction, as always, is confirmed as the most complicated for Italy, forced to spend more time in the third defense. Outnumbered only the post saves the blue cage, which must capitulate after 32 minutes of proud resistance on Karsums’ winning rebound. The national team tries to react with a shot of Bardaro, and on the following scrum it is even the baby Galimberti (just 17 years old, born in 2003) to touch the draw. Latvia would also find the second goal, which however is again, and rightly, canceled for a decisive touch of Indrasis’s skate.
The third fraction begins with Italy in numerical superiority and with a splendid goal from Petan who clears the intersection of the posts from the cobwebs. The scream of the draw, however, is thrown back in the throat by the request for video review by the Latvian bench. What emerges is a millimeter offside (Bardaro has one skate over the blue and the other in a regular position but, unfortunately, lifted from the ice) and the referee four cancels for the third time in this match. The Azzurri suffer, but they still believe in it: a spin-o-rama from Petan, two slings from Magnabosco and Frigo and an undersized deviation from Andergassen even give the illusion of a draw before Latvia scores the two goals that close with an empty net. The bills.
Now for Italy there will be two days of rest before the match against Finland, scheduled for Thursday 27 May at 7.15 pm. This match, like all those of the Azzurri in this World Top Division, will be broadcast live on DAZN. In the next few days, once the medical formalities related to sporting fitness have been completed, the blue defender Alex Trivellato is expected in Riga, who tested negative at the last test for Covid-19.
PARTIAL: 0-0; 1-0; 2-0
MARKERS: 32.08 Heat (1-0 / Krastenbergs), 58.48 Darzins (2-0 EN / Dzerins, Freibergs), 59.48 Heat (3-0 / EN)