Italy 1-1 Bulgaria: European champions held at home

Italy 1-1 Bulgaria: European champions held at home as Atanas Iliev cancels out Federico Chiesa’s opener to leave Roberto Mancini’s side frustrated in World Cup qualifier

  • European champions Italy were held to a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Thursday 
  • Federico Chiesa had given Roberto Mancini’s side the lead in the 16th minute 
  • But Atanas Iliev equalised for the away side shortly before half-time 
  • Roberto Mancini’s side could not find a winner despite dominating possession 

European champions Italy made it 35 games unbeaten to equal the European record run set by Spain but were ultimately disappointed as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bulgaria in their Group C World Cup qualifier on Thursday.

In their first match since winning the European Championship in July, Federico Chiesa wasted no time in putting Italy ahead, arrowing home a fine finish with 16 minutes on the clock.

However, Atanas Iliev struck an equaliser against the run of play five minutes before the break, the first goal Italy have conceded in their World Cup qualifying campaign to date.

Italy were held to a 1-1 draw by Bulgaria at home in their first game since being crowned European champions in July

Federico Chiesa gave the hosts the lead in the 16th minute with a close-range strike

But striker Atanas Iliev equalised for the away side just before half-time to make it 1-1

It was one-way traffic in the second half as the home side went in search of a winner but, apart from Ciro Immobile’s effort from a tight angle that was cleared off the line, Roberto Mancini’s side did not look like scoring again.

Despite the draw, Italy remain in a strong position to reach next year’s World Cup in Qatar, sitting top of the group on 10 points from four matches, four points clear of Switzerland in second albeit having played two games more

Italy enjoyed 79 per cent possession but couldn’t make the dominance count as Bulgaria hung on to claim a vital point.

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Chiesa continued his impressive form at international level to break the deadlock

Roberto Mancini’s side were left frustrated despite dominating possession in Rome




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