Africa’s last hope Zambia were beaten 3-2 by 10-man Italy in the 2017 Under-20 World Cup quarter-final clash at the Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon on Monday.
The victory sees the Azzurrini advance to the semi-finals, while the Junior Chipolopolo bow out of the global tournament.
The Junior Chipolopolo started brightly and they took the lead just four minutes into the game when Patson Daka scored with a delicate chip to make it 1-0 to Zambia.
It should have been 2-0 to Zambia 10 minutes later when Emmanuel Banda’s powerful shot was brilliantly parried away by Italy goalkeeper Andrea Zaccagno.
The African champions suffered a blow in the 24th minute when Enock Mwepu went down injured and he was replaced by Boston Muchindu.
The Azzurrini had a glorious opportunity to score eight minutes later, but Riccardo Orsolini missed the take as the Europeans pressed Zambia.
Zamibia were presented with a chance to score from a free-kick in on the edge of the Azzurrini box after Giuseppe Pezzellla committed a foul on Prosper Chiluya and the former was red-carded.
However, Fashion Sakala fired the resultant free-kick over the crossbar without troubling Zaccagno in the Azzurrini goal-posts.
Zambia were leading 1-0 during the half-time break against 10 men Italy thanks to Daka’s well-taken goal.
But it took only six minutes for the Europeans to restore parity in the second-half as their early pressure on the Zambia defence paid off.
Giuseppe Panico played a great cross into the Zambia box and Orsolini headed past Zambia goalkeeper Mangani Banda to make it 1-1 for Italy.
Although, Azzurrini were one man down they looked dangerous each time they pushed forward with Orsolini playing as their lone striker.
It was end-to-end stuff as Sakala came close to restoring his side’s lead following a great run into the Italy box, but Zaccagno brilliantly denied the Zambian striker.
Sakala did get the goal he had been looking for when fired past Zaccagno with a powerful shot to make it 2-1 to Zambia with six minutes left.
However, Federico Dimarco had other ideas as he scored with wonderful free-kick three minutes later to ensure that the game went into extra-time following a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
Italy came very close to scoring in the first-half of extra-time fell for Orsolini in the 103rd minute, but the striker placed his effort narrowly wide of the target.
But the Azzurrini did score in the second-half of extra-time when substitute Luca Vido hit the back of the net in the 111th minute and they held on to win 3-2.
Zambia (1) 2 (Daka 4′, Sakala 84′)
Italy (0) 3 (Orsolini 51′, Dimarco 88′, Vido 111′).
Zambia: M.Banda, S.Sakala, Mayembe, Nyondo, Chiluya, Musonda (Kalunga 83′), Mwepu (Muchindu 28′), E.Banda (Chisala 76′), Daka, F.Sakala, Chilufya.
Italy: Zaccagno, Ramagna, Coppolaro, Scalera (Vido 85′), Pezzella, Pessina, Cassata (Dimarco 44′), Vitale, Panico (Marchizza 90′), Favilli, Orsolini.