First victory in the road leading to the 2023 World Cup for Italy of Meo Sacchetti, who in front of the 3500 fans of the Assago Forum beats Maurizio Buscaglia’s Holland for 75-73. A painful success, of measure, which comes after a match in which the Azzurri also led in double figures without sinking the blow, and indeed risking the mockery of the guest success with overtaking 3 ‘from the end. In double figures Akele (18 with 7/12 from the field), Tonut and Tessitori (13 points each, with the long of Virtus limited by fouls). Good impact of the rookie Udom (5 points and 4 rebounds in 21 ‘). Hammink’s 19 (5/6 from 3) and De Jong’s 14 are not enough for Holland.
Italy got off to a good start with Tessitori, but three triple guests (all from Hammink) brought Buscaglia’s team back to -2 with 7’30 ”to play (62-60). Leaving the timeout, Gaspardo shakes Italy, but a 3-point game by Roland Schaftenaar is worth the Dutch -1 (64-63 at 34 ‘). Great moment for Michele Vitali, who first wins a breakthrough and then replies by 3 for the new blue +4. The Netherlands drew to 67 with two consecutive baskets by Schaftenaar, Italy did not score and van der Vuurst led the Netherlands with 3 ‘from the end. Akele equalized after a mistake by Holland from 3. Udom puts his body in defense to stop Schaftenaar and on the reversal in front Tonut scores from 3 for the blue +3 at 1’39 “(72-69), making the audience explode of the Forum. Akele flies to correct a mistake by Tonut, +5 Italy. De Jong keeps the Netherlands in contact with two baskets in a row, the second of which is worth -1 to 5 ″. Systematic fouls and a free shot by Vitali reward the Azzurri, it ends 75-73.
Good Dutch approach with Olaf Schaftenaar who signs the triple of -6 (49-43). Italy jammed in attack, only 3 points in 6 ‘with Williams who scores from 3 for -4 (50-46 at 26’30 “). Two free by Tessitori unlock the Azzurri, who return to score from the field with Akele. Important triple from Tonut for +9 (57-48), Tessitori repeats shortly after for +10 (60-50). On the siren of the fourth Kloof scores from three in step back with Gaspardo above, but the basket arrives out of time.
Italy finds some offensive rhythm with the triples of Udom and Akele to return to +7 (30-23). Akele again protagonist (first in double figures, at the interval they are… points), and an acrobatic basket from Tonut is worth the new double figure advantage (36-25 at 15 ‘). Tessitori returns, but commits the third foul of the evening on an irregular block. Diouf’s two free throws are worth the maximum advantage (42-29 at 17 ‘), while Kloof tries to keep the guests afloat with 5 points in a row for -8 (42-34). Holland reaches -5 with the partial that becomes 0-8, but Flaccadori and Vitali sign the new +10 (47-37). Two free shots by De Jong set the final of the first half at the blue 47-39.
Sacchetti starts with his four Olympians (Pajola, Tonut, Vitali and Tessitori) in a quintet completed by Akele, who scores the first blue basket after a triple from de Jong. The blue break becomes 9-0 (Tessitori, Pajola and a triple from Akele), forcing Buscaglia to the first timeout after 3’25 ”. Italy has another look – especially in defense – compared to the match in St. Petersburg and goes up to +11 (16-5), before an orange jolt inspired by the former Trento Franke. Italy keeps up with a good impact from Flaccadori, but Hammink draws a triple from midfield to close the first quarter at 22-18 for the Azzurri
After the defeat in St. Petersburg against Russia, the Azzurri return to the field for their first home match on the road to the 2023 World Cup: Maurizio Buscaglia’s Holland opposes.
It is the first Italbasket challenge in front of the Italian public since February 2020, and it is the first official match of Italy to be played at the Mediolanum Forum in Assago, one of the four locations of Eurobasket 2022. First time among the 12 for Bruno Mascolo and Mattia Udom.