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2 vs 2
Played
October 16, 2013 2:45 AM SGT
Stadio San Paolo — Napoli
Referee:‬ M. Oliver‎
Attendance:‬ 22000‎
 
Top of the Match
Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli
Italy
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Armenia
Flop of the Match
Levon Hayrapetyan
Levon Hayrapetyan
Armenia
Alberto Aquilani
Alberto Aquilani
Italy

Italy 2-2 Armenia: Balotelli secures late point

The AC Milan man struck with just under 15 minutes remaining as the Azzurri ended their qualification campaign unbeaten

API
Mario Balotelli's 76th minute strike saved face for Italy as they drew 2-2 with Armenia on Tuesday night.

Yura Movsisyan gave the visitors the perfect start in the fifth minute, only to see Alessandro Florenzi equalise with a header midway through the first half.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Armenia the lead for a second time in the 70th minute, before substitute Balotelli preserved Italy's unbeaten record in Group B six minutes later.

With qualification already assured, Cesare Prandelli made nine changes from the side that drew 2-2 in Denmark on Friday, with Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Riccardo Montolivo the only men to keep their place.

Armenia coach Vardan Minasyan made two alterations from the 2-1 home victory over Bulgaria, as Varazdat Haroyan and Artur Yedigaryan came in for Artur Sarkisov and Kamo Hovhannisyan.

Movsisyan gave the visitors a dream start in the fifth minute as the Italians surrendered possession on the edge of their own box, the striker clipping the ball over the lunge of Davide Astori before drilling the ball low and hard across Federico Marchetti into the corner.

Osvaldo had a chance to equalise six minutes later after turning smartly in the box, but the Southampton forward curled his left-footed shot wide of the post.

Ten minutes later, he wasted an even better chance after Lorenzo Insigne struck a post from 25 yards, the ball rebounded kindly for the forward, but his tame effort was straight into the arms of Roman Berezovsky with the goal gaping.

The equaliser was not long in coming however, Florenzi nodding home Insigne's delightful chipped cross from six yards in the 24th minute.

Insigne was proving the hosts' main threat and almost put his side in front in the 35th minute, deceiving Hrayr Mkoyan with a quick turn in the box before curling his shot narrowly wide of the right hand post.

After a quiet opening to the second half, it was Insigne who posed the danger once again in the 58th minute, driving into the box before bringing a good save from Berezovsky at his near post.

The Napoli man was in the action again three minutes later, running on to Balotelli's pass on the edge of the box, but he scuffed his effort and the goalkeeper made a comfortable save.

With 20 minutes to go, Mkhitaryan headed Gevorg Ghazaryan's left wing corner in off the crossbar and suddenly Italy's record of never having lost a home World Cup qualifier was under threat.

However, their blushes were spared somewhat as Balotelli ran on to Andrea Pirlo's pass and hooked the ball in.

Haroyan should have claimed a famous winner for his side with 10 minutes to go, but the defender sent his free header over from eight yards.


Italy

22
Federico Marchetti
Goalkeeper
3.00
13
Davide Astori
Defender
2.00
20
Ignazio Abate
Defender
3.50
19
3.00
23
Manuel Pasqual
Defender
60′
2.00
10
Alberto Aquilani
Midfielder
73′
2.00
24
3.50
21
Andrea Pirlo
Midfielder
76′
3.50
18
Riccardo Montolivo
Midfielder
2.50
24
Lorenzo Insigne
Midfielder
24′
3.50
17
2.00

Armenia

3.00
-
3.00
-
3.00
-
3.00
-
3.50
23
2.00
-
3.00
-
3.50
10
2.50
-
1.50
-
3.50
-

Substitutes

1
 - 
30
 - 
42
 - 
3
 - 
87
2.50
11
Alessio Cerci
Midfielder
 - 
23
 - 
29
 - 
24
Marco Verratti
Midfielder
 - 
8
Thiago Motta
Midfielder
 - 
49
 - 
45
3.50

Substitutes

 - 
-
G. Kasparov
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
 - 
-
Artur Adamyan
Midfielder
 - 
-
Artak Dashyan
Midfielder
 - 
-
Davit Manoyan
Midfielder
 - 
-
Edgar Malakyan
Midfielder
2.50
-
 - 
-
M. Pizzelli
Midfielder
90′
2.50
-

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
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Results
Group A Matchday 11
Times In SGT
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Robin van Persie Robin van Persie
Striker
Man. United
11 2
Edin Dzeko Edin Dzeko
Striker
Man City
10 0
Mesut Özil Mesut Özil
Midfielder
Arsenal
8 3
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
8 1
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
8 0