BARI, Italy :Italy forward Domenico Berardi scored twice as the home side cruised to a 4-0 win over Malta in their Euro 2024 Group C qualifier on Saturday.
The European champions had few problems at the Stadio San Nicola in Bari, despite contending with injuries, against a Malta side without a win so far in the qualifying campaign.
Italy are second in the table ahead on goal difference of Ukraine, who earlier won 2-0 against North Macedonia. Both teams have 10 points but Italy have a match in hand on all their group rivals except England, who top the group with 13 points.
England host Italy in their next qualifier on Tuesday.
Giacomo Bonaventura opened the scoring after 23 minutes, netting his first international goal with a skilful right-foot curler into the top corner from just inside the penalty area.
Berardi increased Italy’s lead with a left-foot curler just before halftime and added his second goal in the 64th minute with a precise finish from a cut-back.
In the closing moments, Davide Frattesi scored the final goal of the night, skilfully slotting a low shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner.
Hungary remain top of Group G after beating second-placed Serbia 2-1, with all the goals coming in the first half. Hungary have 13 points, three points above Serbia with a game in hand.
In Group H, leaders Slovenia beat third-placed Finland 3-0 with a Benjamin Sesko double, including a penalty, and a late goal by Erik Janza. They are level on 16 points with second-placed Denmark, who won 3-1 at home to Kazakhstan.