On-loan Ipswich Town winger Jeremy Sarmiento earned his 15 international cap, starting for Ecuador in their 1-0 defeat to Italy.

La Tri played both of their international friendlies at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, with Sarmiento providing an assist for John Yeboah to open the scoring in their 2-0 win against Guatemala on Thursday.

That performance earned him a start against the European champions, who are looking to retain their title at Euro 2024 this summer. Lorenzo Pellegrini gave them the lead in the third minute, firing home after Federico DiMarco hit the wall with a free-kick.

Sarmiento did his best to try and help his side get back into the game, but they struggled to get a real foothold in the first half. Their lack of possession saw them give away needless fouls, limiting their opportunities in the final third.

They improved after the break. The 21-year-old managed to create two chances and had two dribbles before being withdrawn for 17-year-old Allen Obando in the 80th minute, but Luciano Spalletti’s side were able to wrap up the game in stoppage time.

A quick counter saw Nicola Barella played clean through on goal, allowing him to chip the ball over goalkeeper Javier Burrai to make it 2-0.

Supporters praised Sarmiento for his performance after the match, although he admitted that it was ‘a difficult game’.

“We started a little slow, to be honest,” he said via La Red Ecuador. “It took us a little while to adjust at first.

“In the second half, we improved a lot. We felt like we could get a draw from the game. We had opportunities too.

“Credit to them. They’re an excellent country, they have excellent players. There’s not a lot else to say.

“We did what we could do, we played well too. Individually, I played both games and I played some good minutes.

“I’m very happy, to be honest, to come here to the national team after a year and start both games. For me, it’s very important to gain confidence, to gain rhythm as well.

“Obviously, I’ll return to my club with more rhythm too.”

The winger’s international duty is over for now, as he prepares to return to Suffolk ahead of Town’s trip to Blackburn Rovers on Good Friday. He’ll hope to feature for Ecuador again this summer as they aim to win the Copa America for the first time in their history.

Elsewhere, Cameron Burgess will play his final match of the international break tomorrow morning as Australia take on Lebanon in Canberra. 

Kieffer Moore and Nathan Broadhead are then in action later that evening as Wales face Poland in Cardiff for a place at Euro 2024.