Manchester City forward Ferran Torres was unstoppable as he led Spain to the UEFA Nations League final ahead of European champions Spain. The ex-Valencia man scored twice in the first half as he helped Spain beat Italy 2-1 in their semi-final clash at the San Siro on Wednesday.
The Italian defence could not cope with the movement of Torres in the box and they were punished on two occasions as a result. Torres scored the first of his two goals on 17 minutes off the assist from Real Sociedad star Mikel Oyarzabal.
The Italians left themselves with much to do after they had a man sent off and also conceded a second goal in the last three minutes of the first half. Skipper Leonardo Bonucci was sent off on 42 minutes after he was given a second yellow card for an elbow on his Spanish counterpart, Sergio Busquets. Barcelona midfielder Busquets and his Spanish senior national colleagues were soon celebrating a second goal thanks to Torres in added time. The Manchester City star was also assisted for the Spanish second goal by the abovementioned Oyarzabal.
European champions fought back in the second half but it turned out to be that the two-goal lead handed out to the Spaniards was too much to claw back. AS Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini halved the deficit for Italy with seven minutes left and his goal proved to be mere consolation.
Italy were on a 37-match unbeaten run ahead of the Spain game and the result from the UEFA Nations League last four clash ensured that the record run came to an end as they suffered a first defeat since they were beaten by Portugal in 2018. The Italians won the Euro 2020 tournament during the unbeaten run.
In the other UEFA Nations League semi-final played on Thursday, France came from two goals down at the half-time break to beat Belgium 3-2 at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. Spain will now face world champions France in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday, while Italy will battle Belgium to determine who will finish in third spot.