Italy wrenched a less convincing 2-0 win over Malta at home to chalk up their first win in the 2014 football World Cup qualifiers.
Mattia Destro opened the scoring on Tuesday, and then the hosts wasted a hack of chances and also fended off some attacks from the visitors before Federico sealed the win with a last-gasp goal, Xinhua reports.
With the win, Italy are tied with Bulgaria on four points at the top of the standings.
Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli was looking for an improved performance on their opening qualifier and things looked hopeful when the Azzurri took the lead after just five minutes.
Claudio Marchisio’s pass from the right landed at the feet of Destro, who smashed a shot into the bottom right corner from 18 yards.
Then they just could not put the ball into Malta’s goal again with Alessandro Diamanti, Pablo Osvaldo and Andrea Pirlo noticeably wasteful of chances.
They eventually made the breakthrough in stoppage time when Pirlo’s corner was neatly headed home by Peluso.
“We know September isn’t our best month and we’re not very sharp, but we have to rediscover our enthusiasm, pace and style of play,” said Prandelli.
“We were a bit more organised in the second half, showing greater verve and creating more space,” he said.
Lebanon beat Iran
Lebanon managed to beat Iran 1-0 in the Asian zone Football World Cup qualifier at the Cite Sportive Stadium in Beirut.
Lebanon skipper Rida Antar headed the goal home in the 28th minute Tuesday after receiving the ball from a direct free shot, Xinhua reports.
With the win, Lebanon revived their chances of reaching the FIFA World Cup finals, to be held in Brazil in 2014 after they collected four points from four games to equal with Iran and Qatar and stand behind leaders South Korea, who has six points, while Uzbekistan has one.
Keywords: 2014 World Cup qualifiers