Italy scrapes up a point against Poland

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UEFA Nations League: Italy 1-1 Poland

The visitors, beginning life under new boss Jerzy Brzeczek after an underwhelming group-stage exit at the FIFA World Cup, went in front five minutes before half-time through Piotr Zielinski.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho misplaced a pass and was dispossessed in the build-up to that goal but unfurled his skip-step penalty routine to fine effect.

It salvaged a fitful Italy display as Roberto Mancini continues to plot his recovery from one of the football's grand nations failing to reach Russia 2018.

Aiming to cement his claims to Italy's number one spot after Mancini again opted to overlook the veteran Gianluigi Buffon, Gianluigi Donnarumma made sharp stops down to his left that denied Zielinski and Grzegorz Krychowiak inside the opening half hour.

A poorly taken short goal-kick from Lukasz Fabianski presented Italy with a clear 37th-minute opening but Federico Bernardeschi arrowed his shot wide.

Mancini would rue that moment of wastefulness as Jorginho was clumsily dispossessed and his old Napoli team-mate Zielinski benefited, volleying home Robert Lewandowski's cross at the back post.

Lewandowski could not re-adjust to convert Jakub Blaszczykowski's cross early in the second half, in which half-time substitute Giacomo Bonaventura provided a bright point for Italy.

The Milan midfielder was thwarted by Fabianski at close quarters before sending a drive whistling just wide.

It was another substitute, Federico Chiesa, who won the spot-kick for the equaliser.

Blaszczykowski appeared to get a decent chunk of the ball but, given he was already booked and slid in from behind, the Wolfsburg winger was perhaps fortunate to watch Jorginho's conversion from on the field.

The Azzurri travel to take on European champion Portugal in the second Nations League encounter on Tuesday (AEST), while Poland hosts a Republic of Ireland side smarting from a thrashing at the hands of Wales.