CESENA: First-half goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini set Italy on their way to a narrow 2-1 victory at home against Hungary on Tuesday in the UEFA Nations League.
Both keepers were forced into smart stops in the first half-hour, Denes Dibusz pushing away Gianluca Mancini's header before Gianluigi Donnarumma thwarted Hungary's Roland Salli.
But the deadlock was broken in style when Leonardo Spinazzola rolled the ball across the edge of the area to Barella, whose shot was too powerful for Dibusz to keep out.
Pellegrini almost set up Wilfried Gnonto for a second, but moments later scored himself, turning in Matteo Politano's pass.
Politano struck the crossbar early in the second half, but when Italy did find the net for the third time, it was at the wrong end as Mancini diverted Attila Fiola's cross into his own goal. There was to be no further score as Italy claimed their first win of this UEFA Nations League campaign.
Italy coach, Roberto Mancini later opined that his side could have scored more goals against Hungary. He said: "We played a good game, especially in the first half. Their goal, however, created us some fear and pressure in a game we should have won by a bigger margin. Both teams were a bit tired at the end."
While, Marco Rossi, Hungary's coach added: "In the second half the team played better. We lost but we must be aware of who we are: we cannot think of coming here to win or to draw easily, Italy are the champions of Europe and a team made up of almost all players who play in Serie A."
Hungary were beaten for just the second time in their last 11 UEFA Nations League matches (W6 D3). Italy are unbeaten at home in the league phase of the UEFA Nations League (W2 D5).
With a 2-1 victory, Italy have kept only one clean sheet in their last eight international matches.