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Italy 0-1 USA: Clint Dempsey defeats below-par Azzurri and hands Jurgen Klinsmann's side impressive win

The United States picked up their first ever victory over Italy, triumphing 1-0 in an international friendly at the Luigi Ferraris in Genoa.

Clint Dempsey scored the only goal of the game early in the second half, and despite a flurry of activity from the home side, the Americans held out for the win.

The match turned out to be a lively and open affair. An early attempt came as soon as the fourth minute, when Tim Howard was forced into making a great save from the charging Thiago Motta in the box.

Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco proved to be energetic for the hosts, linking up numerous times through the Juventus midfielder's precise passes. Pirlo found the Parma forward but he lost his footing and scuffed his shot, and minutes later the same duo forced a solid save from Howard.

The Azzurri were caught offside on a number of occasions as the USA defence did well to hold their line. Jurgen Klinsmann’s men had a few promising attacks themselves, such as when Brek Shea’s ran through the Italian centre-backs, but just failed to reach the ball ahead of Gianluigi Buffon.

Their best chance came from a set piece with 10 minutes left in the first half, but Clint Dempsey’s powerful strike was parried to safety by Buffon.

The second period began much as the first, with Italy in control and the Americans looking to counter quickly. Giovinco was flagged offside twice in quick succession as Cesare Prandelli’s men continued to be flustered by the USA’s defensive compactness.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 55th minute after terrible defending from the home side. Jozy Altidore laid off a pass for Dempsey in the box, who found himself with space and fired right into the heart of the net to provide a shock lead.

Substitute Fabio Borini was introduced, and almost levelled matters eight minutes later after redirecting Giampaolo Pazzini’s lay-off towards goal, but Howard reached high to smother the shot.

The home side continued to pour forward and the impressive Borini nearly snatched a goal in the 78th minute but Howard, in fine form, blocked the forward’s shot.

Giorgio Chiellini's header went over the bar with just five minutes to go and a flurry of shots followed from the Italians but the United States were up to the task, and held out for a superb scalp.

Italy’s poor friendly form continues but Prandell likely won’t mind if the side can rediscover their stellar qualifying form in time for the Euro 2012, whereas Klinsmann picks up his fourth friendly win in a row as things are looking up for the Americans.