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  • November 11, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadion Miejski, Wrocław
  • Referee: L. Duhamel

Poland 0-2 Italy: Balotelli grabs goal and assist while Buffon saves penalty in friendly win

Poland 0-2 Italy: Balotelli grabs goal and assist while Buffon saves penalty in friendly win

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A first half thunderbolt from Mario Balotelli and a poachers' finish from Giampaolo Pazzini was enough to see off the Euro 2012 co-hosts

Italy defeated Poland 2-0 in Wroclaw in Friday night's international friendly courtesy of a fantastic finish from Mario Balotelli and a Giampaolo Pazzini's close range strike in what was a dominant display from the Azzurri.

The match started at a slow pace, with no real chances created. However in the 12th minute, the hosts almost took the lead when Slawomir Peszko found some space on the right side of the box, but the Koln midfielder's effort sailed just over the bar.

Poland were starting to look dangerous on the break, and went close to opening the scoring twice within minutes. First, Robert Lewandowski’s powerful header went just past the post, before Peszko’s long range effort flew marginally over the bar.

With half an hour gone and against the run, Italy took the lead through a fantastic strike from Balotelli. A neat ball from Claudio Marchisio found the young striker, who unleashed a powerful swerving drive that left Wojciech Szczesny with no chance.

Cesare Prandelli's men were now controlling the game and just before half time, Szczesny was forced into a good save to deny Riccardo Montolivo’s long range effort.

The second half began and the Italians were still dominating possession, and in the 52nd minute, Balotelli almost doubled his tally for the evening. A great cross from Montolivo found the Manchester City striker at the back post but his header sailed just past the post.

On the hour mark, the visitors did eventually double their lead through Pazzini. A great cross-field ball from Balotell flicked on by Daniele De Rossi fell to the Inter striker, who made no mistake poking the ball past Szczesny.

The game had started to slow down after the second goal with chances at a premium until substitute Alesandro Matri missed a glorious opportunity to make it three when he fired well over after being left with a one-one against Szczesny.

Then with almost five minutes to go the home side had a great chance to pull a goal back, when a clumsy challenge from Andrea Ranocchia on Lewandowski saw the hosts awarded a penalty. Jakub Blaszczykowski stepped up but was denied by a great save from Gianluigi Buffon.

Italy, who have now won five of their last six internationals, will face Uruguay in their next friendly at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night while Poland take on Hungary in Poznan on the same evening.

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