04.06.2024 23:03 h

Italy held to goalless draw with Turkey

Italy were held to a goalless draw by Turkey on Tuesday as the Azzurri gear up for their European Championship title defence later this month.

Luciano Spalletti's side were frustrated by Turkey in a low-key friendly in Bologna which featured little in the way of goalmouth action.

Italy play one more friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Empoli on Sunday before travelling to Germany for Euro 2024.

They begin their Euros campaign on June 15 against Albania in Group B, where they have also been drawn with Spain and Croatia.

There was little on display on Tuesday to suggest that a repeat of Italy's thrilling triumph at the last Euros three years ago could be in the offing.

The most noteworthy moment of a drab opening period was Ozan Kabak having to be stretchered off shortly before half-time with a knee injury which may be serious enough to have ended his hopes of playing at the Euros with Turkey.

Hoffenheim midfielder Kabak fell awkwardly in an innocuous looking challenge with Mateo Retegui and writhed in agony on the sidelines until he was carried away to warm applause from the home crowd.

In stoppage time Baris Yilmaz sent a free header over the bar before Bryan Cristante thumped the post from Roma teammate Lorenzo Pellegrini's corner with the last action of the half.

Italy livened up after the break following the introduction of Andrea Cambiaso and Mattia Zaccagni, and just before the hour mark Retegui miscued a bicycle kick from Pellegrini's inviting cross.

Although Italy were the better team a lack of inspiration in the final third made Tuesday's tournament warm-up an unsatisfying one for the 25,000 fans at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Turkey, managed by former Italy striker Vincenzo Montella, play Poland in Warsaw on Monday in their final pre-Euros friendly.

They take on Georgia in their first Group F match in Dortmund on June 18 before facing Portugal and the Czech Republic.