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Italy scrape draw with Poland thanks to contentious penalty

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By Reuters
Italy scrape draw with Poland thanks to contentious penalty
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 3 - Italy v Poland - Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy - September 7, 2018 Italy coach Roberto Mancini REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini   -   Copyright  STEFANO RELLANDINI(Reuters)

BOLOGNA, Italy (Reuters) – Italy needed a controversial penalty converted by midfielder Jorginho to scrape a 1-1 draw at home to Poland in the Nations League on Friday, their first competitive game under coach Roberto Mancini.

Poland, playing their first match under new coach Jerzy Brzeczek, who replaced Adam Nawalka following their World Cup group stage exit, went ahead with a Piotr Zielinski volley five minutes before halftime.

With the crowd getting restless, Italy were rescued in the 78th minute when the referee decided Jakub Blaszczykowski had fouled Federico Chiesa in the area, although replays suggested the Pole got the ball first.

Brazilian-born Jorginho calmly converted to ensure the points were shared in the League A Group Three game. Mancini replaced Gian Piero Ventura, sacked last November after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)