Veteran striker Francesco Caputo scored on his Italy debut with Stephan El Shaarawy adding a brace as an experimental Azzurri side crushed Moldova 6-0 in an international friendly in Florence on Wednesday.
Roberto Mancini lined out with Italy’s ‘B’ side without their stars as the Italians build towards next year’s European championships, having failed to reach the 2018 World Cup.
Against the modest Moldovans the Italians extended Mancini’s unbeaten run to 17 consecutive games, with 14 wins and three draws.
“I’ve seen so many interesting things,” said Mancini, whose side were five goals up at the break.
“We had some difficulties in the first quarter of an hour, but I think it was quite normal, because we changed so many players.
“The mentality is the right one, even changing many elements, and this is a positive sign.”
Former Roma player El Shaarawy, now with Shanghai Shenhua, marked wearing the captain’s armband claiming his first double with the national team.
It was an evening of firsts as Caputo, 33, scored on his debut while Bryan Cristante and Domenico Berardi both got their first Italy goals.
Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno also got his first start coming on for the final 25 minutes in Florence.
Italy’s stars including defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, who were in isolation with Juventus after two positive coronavirus cases in the Serie A team’s staff, will now rejoin the team for upcoming Nations League games.
Italy, top of their Nations Leagues group with four points, play in Poland on Sunday and the Netherlands in Bergamo next Wednesday, with both on three points.