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New Italy boss Spalletti denied first win as North Macedonia fight back
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Press Association
North Macedonia fought back to earn a draw against Italy in Skopje (Boris Grdanoski/AP)
North Macedonia fought back to earn a draw against Italy in Skopje (Boris Grdanoski/AP)

North Macedonia fought back to draw 1-1 with Italy in their Euro 2024 Group C qualifier and deny new Azzurri boss Luciano Spalletti a win in his first match in charge.

Spalletti took over following the sudden resignation of Roberto Mancini last month and inherited a side which had already lost to England in their opening fixture.

Ciro Immobile broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half when he headed in a rebound after Nicolo Barella’s volley struck the crossbar.

North Macedonia – who beat Italy in the 2022 World Cup play-offs – got back on level terms with nine minutes left through a fine free-kick from captain Enis Bardhi.

The draw left Italy third in the group, but having played only three matches so far because of their Nations League campaign.

Earlier, leaders England were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine in Wroclaw, Poland.

Arsenal midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko opened the scoring in the 26th minute, sparking wild celebrations from the estimated 40,000 Ukraine fans at the Tarczynski Arena.

England equalised just before the break when captain Harry Kane picked out Kyle Walker on the overlap down the right for the Manchester City defender to score a first international goal in his 77th appearance.

Belgium won 1-0 in Azerbaijan to move top of Group F.

Yannick Carrasco deflected a long-range shot from Johan Bakayoko past the wrong-footed Azerbaijan goalkeeper in the 38th minute, which proved enough for all three points to put the Red Devils above Austria on goal difference.

Newcastle forward Alexander Isak was among the scorers as Sweden ran out 5-0 winners in Estonia to sit four points off the top two.

Switzerland missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of Group I after Kosovo fought back to draw 2-2 in Pristina

Bologna midfielder Remo Freuler put the Swiss ahead in the 14th minute, before Vedat Muriqi equalised midway through the second half.

Freuler looked to have secured three points when his deflected effort went in off defender Amir Rrahmani with 11 minutes left, but Mallorca forward Muriqi struck again in added time.

Romania remain second, two points off Switzerland, after Israel came from behind to draw 1-1 in Bucharest, while it finished goalless between Andorra and Belarus.


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