Two high-quality finishes secured a 2-0 victory for Serie B Italia in the Premier Section final at Super Cup NI.
Salvatore Buonavoglia finished superbly with the outside of his left foot to give the Italians a merited lead after 16 minutes in Ballymena.
Sub Marco Bingo’s stunning second on the half volley from 30 yards out flew into the net nine minutes from the end.
Down goalkeeper Dylan Stewart made a string of saves to deny the dominant Italians a greater margin of victory.
John Bailie’s side did have a strong appeal for a penalty waved away in the first half while trailing 1-0.
Sub Ben Cushnie was brought down by ‘keeper Federico La Rosa in the box but the referee waved play on.
Nicolas Bariol almost gave B Italia the lead 14 minutes in when he carved space down the right but couldn’t find the bottom corner.
Two minutes later, Zak Ruggiero stroked a pass out wide to Buonavoglia who cut inside and flicked the ball across goal into the far corner with the outside of his left boot.
Bariol had a shot cleared off the line by Mal Smith as the Italians mounted wave after wave of pressure.
With Down’s defence under constant pressure, Ruairi O’Kane was fortunate to escape a red card for a reckless tackle on Christian Cerretti.
Stewart made a smart double save but could do nothing about Bingo’s fabulous late strike.
BBC Sport NI copy