Team Switzerland rallied in the second half scoring two touchdowns to come from behind to beat Italy 12-9 in the 1st Annual “Alps Bowl” in Pero, Italy. The win was sweet revenge for the Swiss who lost last year’s matchup with Team Italy.
On a cold, rainy evening the Swiss stayed with the basics. Quarterback Marcel Niklaus, who has recovered from a broken arm he suffered in the IFAF Europe qualifying game against Slovakia a few months ago, kept it simple. With his timing off (2 of 11 for 24 yards, 1 int.) he just handed the ball off to running backs Raphael Roussis and Tino Muggwyler who combined for 156 yards rushing.
In those rain-drenched conditions, the explosive Italian offense had its own troubles and often was forced to watch the game from the sideline as Switzerland’s ground game relentlessly pounded the Italian front seven.
Muggwyler scored one of the touchdowns while offensive lineman Yann Prudat recorded the winning touchdown, falling on a Swiss fumble in the Italian end zone.
Italy opened the game looking strong though, as quarterback Tommaso Monardi (11 of 20 for 111 yards, 1 TD, 1 int.) engineered a five-play 47-yard drive capping it with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tommaso Finadri.
However, that was Italy’s only trip to the end zone as Switzerland’s defense played extremely well when it needed to. Italy made three more trips into Swiss territory in the first half coming away empty-handed each time.
Italy took a 7-0 lead into the break but Switzerland capitalized on an Italian fumble early in the third on Italy’s 21-yard line. Muggwyler scored on the next play and Switzerland pulled to within 7-6.
Neither team could move the ball until early in the fourth when Team Swiss marched down the field mounting a six play 47-yard drive led by Roussis and Jeremy Medici. Medici would have had the winning touchdown had he not fumbled the ball leaving the heroics to Prudat.
Switzerland gave up a safety with no time left on the clock to account for Italy’s final two points.
Photo credit: Chiara Barbieri