Northern Ireland fall to Italy in World Cup qualifying opener
Two first-half goals led Italy to victory over Northern Ireland in their opening World Cup qualifier.
Ian Baraclough has now failed to win in nine matches since taking over as head coach from Michael O’Neill last year.
Domenico Berardi opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a good finish into the right side of the goal before Ciro Immobile’s individual brilliance added a second.
Northern Ireland improved drastically in the second half and matched the Italians.
Michael Smith saw his shot saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Josh Magennis caused problems for the Italian defence but they were unable to find the back of the net.
Northern Ireland meet USA in a friendly this weekend before playing Bulgaria in Belfast next week.