Saturday, June 14, 2008

Donadoni men given reprieve after 1-1 draw against Romania

Italy Romania survive scare
Donadoni men given reprieve after 1-1 draw against Romania

Last updated on June 13, 2008
Mutu: Opening goal

Mutu: Opening goal
See also

* Photo galleries
* Tournament history
* Who will you follow?
* Bet on Euro 2008


* Italy
* Romania


* Adrian Mutu
* Christian Panucci

Gianluigi Buffon kept Italy's Euro 2008 hopes alive after saving a late penalty against Romania Adrian Mutu, which could have seen them lifted after their opening two games.

Romania was a second half lead by Mutu on 55 minutes after a costly error of Gianluca Zambrotta, but Italy hit back just a minute later when veteran defender tapped home after a header by Giorgio Chiellini.

In a thrilling first half, Italy dominated, but Romania had the chance of their own to open the score, Mutu is denied by Gianluigi Buffon from close and Christian Chivu hit the post from a deflected free-kick.

Italy thought taken the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Luca Toni was unfortunate for his goal chalked off for offside.

And after Mutu and Panucci had scored in the second half, Mutu was given a golden opportunity to win for his side from the spot nine minutes from time, but could not find a way past Buffon.


Italy coach Roberto Donadoni made five changes to the starting line-up, but it failed to inspire the Azzurri, who are still winless after two games.

Fabio Grosso, Giorgio Chiellini, Simone Perrotta, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Del Piero all started, while the World Cup-winners Marco Materazzi and Gennaro Gattuso, who are slow in Bern on Monday, were among those omitted.

The Italians, heavy criticism after their flat display against the Dutch, showed a sense of urgency from the beginning and almost broke the deadlock in the eighth minute.

Del Piero the close-range header from Perrotta's cross went just wide of the near post.

In the 15th minute, Romania should have gone in front, but Mutu left the bone strike from the edge of the area was parried away by Buffon.

On the other hand, Toni Grosso latched on the cross, but his header went high over the bar and Romania hit back as Buffon was then forced to fully stretch to clear Gabriel Tamas' free-kick to the far post.

Italy almost fell behind in the 19th minute, with Cristian Chivu's free-kick deflected by Panucci, but restoration of the post, already beaten Buffon.

Romania were forced to replace their first midway through the first half, with Nicolae Dica replacing the injured Mirel Radoi.

Italy showed more determination and twice had the opportunity to take the lead, but both Del Piero and Toni headed wide for Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont made a hand save to deny Toni heads of Alessandro Del Piero corner.

Neither coach made any substitutions after the restart and Italy picked up where they left off.

Finishing Touch

But disaster soon found for Italy. Gianluca Zambrotta the bad weather pass towards Buffon was intercepted by a determined Mutu, who showed great calm to fire past the goalkeeper and the silence of the Azzurri fans.

But it was not long before Donadoni men to hit back.

Chiellini latched Del Piero on the corner and headed towards the far post, where a non-Panucci came to poke the ball into the back of the net.

The goal inspired the Italians for once, because they put forward more aggressively, but they do not comply with finding a finishing touch.

Their best chance as the game approached about fell to De Rossi, who got his head on the ball closely, which Lobont into a spectacular save.

Italy continued to wave forward, but their efforts to clinch their first win on Swiss soil showed no avail.

But it could have been much worse if, as the game in the last 10 minutes, Panucci was seen have brought down Mutu as they tussled for a cross at the near post.

But Buffon kept their Euro 2008 hopes alive, stopping Mutu late penalty with an agile save which saw the ball rebound from a hands and feet before heading to corner.

No comments: