England U20s and Italy U20s drew 1-1 in an enjoyable international game at the Tehcnique Stadium – with Lewis Bate scoring for the Young Lions.
Daniel Maldini opened the scoring before Bate grabbed the equaliser in a frantic and entertaining first half.
The home side had the best of the chances in a stop-start second half, but neither team could find a way through and were forced to settle for a draw.
Before the game started, the 6,394 in attendance observed a minute’s applause to pay their respect to Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt – two of England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad, who sadly passed away last month.
After a cagey first 15 minutes, the game sprung into life. Sam Greenwood was sent through on goal but denied by a good save from Ludovico Gelmi.
Almost immediately, England came close again to opening the scoring. However, a goal-line clearance from an Italian defender denied the home side.
Gaetano Oristanio was looking dangerous for the visitors and had two chances that just cleared James Trafford’s crossbar.
Italy eventually took the lead in the 34th minute. Oristanioonce more threatened down the right-hand side before floating in a cross that Maldini powerfully headed home.
Andy Edwards’ side found an equaliser just seven minutes later. Greenwood failed to control a cross; the ball fell to Bate, who smashed the ball into the back of the net with his left foot.
Early into the second half, the away side had a golden chance to re-take the lead. Maldini played Oristanio through on goal, but the attacker put his effort wide.
Following the chance, the game struggled to find its rhythm with little fouls and injuries disrupting the flow of the game.
Greenwood came inches away from giving England the lead with 15 minutes to go. His free-kick beat Gelmi but crashed off the post.
Jaden Philogence-Bidace found himself through on goal only for Gelmi to block his shot and keep the scores level.
Both teams hunted for a winner with substitute Morgan Rogers coming closest after his long-range strike was well-saved. However, after a highly entertaining fixture, the game ended in a stalemate.
England: Trafford, Drameh, Cirkin (Lawrence 73), Weir, Hill, Wood ©, McAtee, Bate (Azeez 73), Greenwood(Stansfield 90), Anjorin (Rogers 63), Philogence-Bidace.
Unused Substitutes: Kesler Hayden, Cox, Mengi, Branthwaite, Clarkson, Rak-Sakyi, Young.