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Italy beat Uruguay on penalties

SALVADOR DE BAHIA (AFP) – Italy beat Uruguay 3-2 on penalties in their Confederations Cup third place playoff on Sunday after the pair were locked at 2-2 following extra time in Salvador.

Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon
Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon

Gigi Buffon was the shoot-out hero as Italy beat Uruguay on penalties to clinch third place in the Confederations Cup after a 2-2 draw.

Edinson Cavani twice cancelled out an Azzurri lead and Riccardo Montolivo saw red in extra time in stifling heat in Salvador de Bahia.

Cesare Prandelli had to completely revamp his side for the Confederations Cup third place play-off, as Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo, Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli and Claudio Marchisio were all injured. Daniele De Rossi, Alberto Gilardino and Giorgio Chiellini all passed late fitness tests, while Stephan El Shaarawy, Alessandro Diamanti and Davide Astori were given rare starts in the stifling 13.00 local time heat.

Uruguay played their semi-final with Brazil a day earlier than Italy and didn’t go to 120 minutes, so were able to use much the same side including Serie A faces Edinson Cavani, Martin Caceres, Walter Gargano and Arevalo Rios.

Luis Suarez turned Chiellini at the halfway line and burst forward, but Diego Forlan’s assist for Cavani was misplaced. Chiellini almost scored at the other end with a glancing header just wide from Diamanti’s free kick.

Diego Forlan’s low set piece through the wall was well smothered and De Sciglio pulled back for Antonio Candreva to force a Fernando Muslera save. Lazio figure Candreva also blasted over from distance.

Italy took the lead in bizarre circumstances, as Diamanti curled an audacious free kick almost from the right corner flag that thumped the far post, ricocheted off the back of Muslera’s head and Astori dived to toe-poke it over the line. It was the Cagliari defender’s first international goal, as initially FIFA awarded it to Diamanti, then saw on using the new goalline technology that part of the ball had not entirely crossed over before Astori got there.

El Shaarawy’s confidence was not helped by a poor first touch that wasted a good opportunity. At the other end, Suarez forced Buffon into a save under the bar from a tight angle.

Cavani got the ball in the net with his header from a free kick, but was flagged offside. Moments later El Shaarawy’s screamer stung Muslera’s palms, then Diamanti’s flick was just beyond Gilardino from 10 yards.

 


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