USA 1-3 Italy - Underwhelming Azzurri Labour Past Ten Man USA

  Italy kicked off their Confederations Cup campaign with a win over the USA in Pretoria this evening. Despite looking distinctly average for the majority of a bad tempered game, they were able to overcome the brave Americans, who clearly suffered for having a man sent off.

The Loftus Versfeld Stadium hosted the match

  The reigning world champions,  began the game on top, enjoying possession, and producing some artful touches, though it did seem at times that their play lacked substance. The raucous crowd, composed mostly of natives, creating an impressive, if irritating atmosphere with their horns, had to wait twenty minutes to see a clear chance though, when Nicola Legrottaglie’s free header sailed narrowly wide.

  As the Italians were limited only to long-range efforts, struggling to get the better of the American centre-back partnership of Jay Demerit and the bullish Oguchi Onyewu, a target for several Premier League clubs, the USA began to get a grip on the game. Having scored in each of their previous fourteen matches, they looked dangerous going forward and created chances, Michael Bradley and Josmer Altidore both spurning golden left-footed chances.

  In a half of momentum swings, the impetus was soon with Italy again, as the USA were reduced to ten men, Ricardo Clark harshly dismissed for a late tackle on Gennaro Gattuso. Clark was aggrieved, and you have to feel he had a case. To make things worse for Bob Bradley’s men, they soon thought they were behind, Jonathan Bornstein prodding the ball beyond the desperate Howard, only for the blushes of both to be spared by the linesman’s late, and incorrect, flag.

  As it looked like the Azzurri would push on, it was the USA who broke the deadlock, Landon Donovan confidently converting the penalty that resulted from Giorgio Chiellini’s clumsy challenge on Altidore, striking coolly past Gianluigi Buffon to give the ten men the lead minutes before the break.

Altidore, too quick and strong for Chiellini, wins the penalty

  Whatever Italy coach Marcello Lippi said to his underwhelming side at half-time it worked, as they came back out stronger, realising they were heading for an embarrassing defeat. Fifteen minutes in, with Italy making full use of their man advantage, the American born Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi equalised, powering a fine long-range effort past Howard.

  Tasting blood, the Italians kicked on, and, with their opposition tiring, went ahead fifteen minutes later, Daniel de Rossi’s low drive finding a way past Howard, the unpredictable movement of the light-weight ball troubling the Everton ‘keeper. The USA tried to mount a late come-back but after coming close through Sacha Kljestan, all their resistance was blown away by another fine strike from Rossi, a smart half-volley in the first minute of injury time, the game so ending 3-1 to Italy.

Gianluigi Buffon and Chiellini celebrate victory

  Ultimately, with a man advantage, Italy did just enough to earn the win, but Lippi will have concerns after his side’s lukewarm performance. The USA can feel proud of their efforts, but will be all too aware of the uphill battle they now face to progress in the tournament.

2 Responses to “USA 1-3 Italy - Underwhelming Azzurri Labour Past Ten Man USA”

  1. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

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  2. I*T*P*L Says:

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