Italy beat Austria 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley in the last 16 of Euro 2020 to move into the quarter-finals and set a new national record as they stretched their undefeated run to 31 games.
Sparkling in the group stages, the Azzurri struggled more in this encounter, surviving a goal disallowed for offside from Marco Arnautovic in the second half, before clicking through the gears in extra-time.
Roberto Mancini’s management proved crucial as Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina came off the bench to score in the first period of additional play.
Austria got one back through Sasa Kalajdzic with five minutes left – ending Italy’s hopes of a 12th successive cleansheet but too late to help his side.
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder gave a strong performance in the middle of the field, dictating the tempo of the game and keeping Italy playing to a consistent pace. Recently returned from injury, he was not able to last the pace and Italy suffered after he departed.
Italy’s starting forward players were disappointing, with Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile both unable to make an impression on the Austrian defence. Immobile cracked a fine shot off the outside of the post but was otherwise lamentable, while Berardi’s failed scissor kick seconds before he was replaced summed his night up.
Acerbi was the game’s crucial player. Not only was he instrumental in Italy keeping yet another clean sheet, he provided the assist to Pessina that put the game beyond Austria.