Italy Draw With Spain To Extend Unbeaten In The Qualifier


Italy salvaged a draw in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Spain with a late Daniele de Rossi penalty.

Spain had 72.4% of possession in the first half but failed to score.

They finally took the lead after 55 minutes when keeper Gianluigi Buffon missed an attempted clearance to leave Vitolo to sidefoot in.

Italy rarely threatened but, after Sergio Ramos tripped Eder, De Rossi equalised to extend his country’s unbeaten run in qualifiers to 52 games.

The last time the Azzurri lost a World Cup or European qualifier was in September 2006 when they were beaten 3-1 by France on their way to reaching Euro 2008.

Italy and Spain now have four points from two games, with Albania, who beat Liechtenstein 2-0, top of Group G on six points.

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Israel won 2-1 in Macedonia in the other game in the group.

No revenge for Spain

Spain were out to avenge their defeat by the Azzurri in the last 16 of Euro 2016 and quickly took control of the match.

They went close when Andres Iniesta played a one-two with David Silva only to see a weakly struck left-footed shot saved before Gerard Pique sent a close-range header straight at Buffon.

Spain looked set for victory after 38-year-old Buffon’s error as he completely missed the ball when trying to clear a through ball to Vitolo.

However, substitute Ciro Immobile brought some much-needed energy and threat to the home attack and a rash Ramos challenge allowed De Rossi to score.

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