Sunderland star earns draw for Italy against Nigeria

Emanuele Giaccherini celebrates his goal against Nigeria
Emanuele Giaccherini celebrates his goal against Nigeria
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EMANUELE Giaccherini put himself in the right frame of mind for Sunderland’s game against Stoke City this weekend when he scored for Italy tonight

The Black Cats’ big money summer signing has been in and out of Sunderland’s side since the arrival of Gus Poyet as head coach last month.

But the little Italian will have given his new club boss food for thought with a fine goal in an international friendly against Nigeria played out at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.

Giaccherini had suffered the disappointment of being an unused sub in his country’s 1-1 draw with Germany on Friday.

But tonight he started the match as Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi marked his return to the side by opening the scoring for the Azzurri on the quarter-hour.

Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi set up Bright Dike for a Nigerian equaliser in the 37th minute and then put his side ahead in the 41st.

But Giaccherini levelled the scores in the 48th minute with a low, powerful shot before being subbed in the 79th minute as an entertaining game went on to finish 2-2 with Italy being thwarted by the crossbar in time added.

Giaccherini’s goal will come as a perfect confidence booster after an up-and-down time under Poyet.

The Sunderland attacker was a surprise omission from the starting XI in Poyet’s derby selection against Newcastle United and also failed to feature in the following game, against Hull City.

But with rumours starting to spring up that he might be being targeted for a return to Serie A in the January transfer window, Poyet has been quick to say the gifted Italian remains in his plans.

And with the Uruguayan revealing he always likes to pick players who have shown they are in good form, Giaccherini might well have fired himself into Sunderland’s starting line-up for the trip to the Britannia Stadium this Saturday, where ball retention will be key to the head coach’s game plan.