Southampton striker Graziano Pelle comments on controversial handball goal v Malta

Graziano Pelle

The Saints star seemed to bundle the winning goal against Malta into the net with his arm.

The Italian national team yesterday scraped to a 1-0 victory over European minnows Malta in what was a much needed win for boss Antonio Conte.

Italy had not won in their last four games and needed this result to remain at the top of their European Championship qualifying group.

They were expected to win comfortably against their local rivals at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, home of Fiorentina, in Florence, but in the end they won through controversial circumstances.

The goal came from Southampton striker Graziano Pelle. The goal-getter, who has already scored four goals for Southampton this season, took his tally to five goals in nine games overall this season with the striker. But it certainly appeared that a hand was used amid the process of putting the ball in the back of the net.

He got on the end of an Antonio Candreva cross, but the ball certainly seemed to come off his arm, rather than any legal part of his body.

Pelle has even admitted that possibility. The Southampton striker is quoted by Football Italia as stating:

“I play for Italy, my job is to score goals. It was a difficult game against Malta and we saw Croatia were held by Azerbaijan, so football has levelled out now and every win is tough.

“I don’t remember whether I touched it with my arm. I’ll have to see the replay too and then I’ll tell you.”

Southampton fans will however simply be pleased to see him carrying on his goalscoring form for the Azzurri. Hopefully he will continue to show such form at St Mary’s this season.

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