MILANO – Italy suffers more than expected at the Assago Forum but in the end manages to overtake the Netherlands (75-73) in the second qualifying match for the World Cup. Two key points after the debut defeat in Russia. Almost always ahead, the guys from Sacchetti risked paying dearly for a few moments of blackout that allowed the guests to put their heads forward with 3 ‘from the end. The difference was made by Akele, author of 18 points and above all of two decisive rebounds in the last minutes. Also excellent tests by Tonut and Tessitori who finished with 13 points each. Hammink’s 19 points and De Jong’s 14 were not enough for the Netherlands.
Italy also ahead by 13 points
Taken by the hand by Pajola and Tessitori, Italy starts well and already at 7 ‘is on +11 (16-5). The Netherlands reacts with character and, thanks to two triples from Hammink, they are back down (22-20) in the 11th minute. The Azzurri tighten the ranks in defense and, with the points of Udom and Akele, extend again and reach the maximum advantage of +13 (42-29) in the 18 ‘. The Netherlands clings to De Jong to stay in the slipstream and then returns to -4 (50-46) in the 27th minute with the triples of Roeland Schaftenaar and Williams. Italy is not there, replies from long distance with Tonut and Tessitori and closes the third quarter at 60-50.
Akele, Tonut and two free of Vitali decide
It seems like the viaticum towards an easy success, but the Netherlands with another two triples by Hammink mends the tear and sends the Azzurri to apprehension who, 3 ‘from the end, find themselves even under after a tap-in by van der Vuurst de Vries. Italy does not tremble and, thanks to Akele’s rebounds and a triple from Tonut, returns to +5 at 1’15 “from the conclusion. Holland does not give up, goes back to -1 to -8” with a tap-in of De Jong but Italy manages the last ball well, winning the free of liberation with Vitali. Next appointment with the world qualifiers on February 24th in Iceland.
(22-18, 47-39, 60-50)
Italy: Akele 18, Pajola 7, Tonut 13, Udom 5, Vitali 7, Alviti, Candi, Diouf 4, Flaccadori 6, Gaspardo 2, Tessitori 13, Mascolo ne.
Netherlands: Franke 6, De Jong 14, Kherrazi 2, Hammink 19, Kloof 11, van der Vuurst de Vries 4, Zeeren 2, Williams 3, Schaftenaar R. 9, Schaftenaar O. 3, Kok, Vliet ne.