Italy manager Roberto Mancini praised the character of his side after they came from behind to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 in their Euro 2020 Group J qualifier in Turin.
The Azzurri were looking to make it four straight wins to stay at the top of the Group J table.
Roma forward Edin Dzeko, though, had fired the visitors into a 32nd-minute lead following a swift counter-attack as Italy conceded their first goal of the qualifying campaign.
Lorenzo Insigne’s fine volley equalised early in the second half and Italy’s industry was rewarded with a late winner.
With four minutes left, Napoli frontman Insigne got away down the left and cut the ball back for Marco Verratti, who slid his shot into the bottom corner.
“All the games are difficult, especially when you play two in a row at the end of the (club) season,” Mancini told reporters after the match.
“Bosnia have technically gifted players and we were a bit soft in the first half, but we improved after the break and the victory was deserved in the end.
“It wasn’t easy to overcome such an opponent, but we offered a dominant display in the second half so we are happy.”
Mancini, quoted on UEFA’s website, added: “Bosnia played a great game and we knew this was the toughest game of the group.
“Miralem Pjanic and Dzeko did very well, but we showed some character and the ability to score in any situation.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina had been hoping for a positive response after losing 2-0 in Finland as they look to keep up with the leaders.
Manager Robert Prosinecki felt his side had done enough to leave Turin with at least a point.
“I cannot say anything to my players because they played a very good game,” he said.
“We had enough chances to earn a positive result here. Italy are a great team and you cannot play badly even for a minute against them if you don’t want to be punished.
“We are disappointed because we believe we deserved a point.”
– Press Association