Player Ratings: Montenegro 0-2 Italy

Italy beat Montenegro 2-0 in Podgorica to keep first place in World Cup Qualifying Group 8. Goal.com rates the players on show...
Montenegro

Poleksic -5.0: The custodian was not really troubled by the Italians. He couldn't do anything to save Pirlo's cheeky penalty. Perhaps he could have done better to stop Pazzini's diving header though. Apart from the goals, he was comortable.

Pavlcevic -5.5: The Energie Cottbus defender was always comfortable at the back, but he went into the book for a silly challenge. He was alert, but sometimes failed to pick up his man.

Basa -5.0: Unfortunately Basa was not at his best on the night. He let the Italians have far too much freedom, and he completely lost Pazzini's run for the Azzurri's second. However, he did make some decent challenges as the game progressed, and his first half block on Iaquinta was well read.

Batak -4.5: The defender forcibly showed his hand rather than feet when he cut out Andrea Pirlo's cross with his arm. It led to a penalty and, perhaps his side's demise as Montenegro were playing well up until that point.

Bozovic -5.0: Bozovic seemed to drift in and out of the game. When he was on the ball he did the simple things right, moved around well and worked hard, but he seemed to give up when he was not in possession.

Drincic -4.0: More was expected from the 24-year-old. He failed to impress against the Italians, and was often kept quiet by Daniele De Rossi in the middle of the park.

Pekovic -5.5: Pekovic raised the bar for his side and his passing always found the targets. However, he was guilty of playing too many long balls, and this seemed to hinder his side, rather than help them. He also earned a yellow card for a poor tackle and was later replaced.

Boskovic -5.0: The Rapid Vienna midfielder did his best to get the ball rolling for his side. His attacking play was decent, but he found trouble finding the target when shooting. His attempts were often wayward. A less than perfect showing.

Jovetic -6.5: The Fiorentina playmaker was Montenegro's best player by far. He kept the Italian defence on it's toes, and he put Fabio Cannavaro under pressure on several ocassions. He bamboozled and showed great skills, but his finishing was not brilliant.

Vukcevic -5.0: The Sporting Lisbon man was dangerous in the first half, but his effort seemed to run down as the minutes ticked on. He showed good vision and passing, but that's where his game ended. He didn't give his best when he was expected to carry his side forwards.

Djalovic -5.0: The hitman was far too quiet and completely failed to offer threat up front. He was idle for most of the match, and he didn't help his side when they were under pressure down the other end.

Subs: Zverotic 4.5, Vujovic 5.0, Beciraj N/A

Italy

Buffon -6.5:
Despite being tested on rare occasions, Buffon proved why he is worth so much to La Nazionale's cause. He made a miracle save on Dalovic in the second half to keep his side ahead. The stop was worthy of three points as he got down low to stop the ball at point-blank range.

Zambrotta -6.0:
The Milan man kept calm and composed, even when under pressure. He did the simple things right and showed all of his experience as he kept control of the right wing. A fresh and clean performance overall.

Cannavaro -6.0: The captain was not at his best in Podgorica. He seemed confused at times and he earned a yellow for a petulant foul on Jovetic. He was lucky to escape a red as he was the last man. His game improved and he did show his strength. Chest pumped out as he put in the effort.

Chiellini -7.0: One of Italy's best players on the night. He was excellent at the back, despite playing with a broken nose which kept giving him problems. Nevertheless, he showed his fighting qualities as he fought off the Montenegrin challenge with sword and fist.

Grosso -6.0: The Lyon defender made a couple of errors which put his side in unnecessary danger. However, he made up for it with his good runs down the flank. His crossing was good quality too.

Palombo -6.0:
Palombo earned the nod because of his prowess with Sampdoria. However, his performance did not reflect his season with the Blucerchiati. He looked unsure and made some schoolboy errors. Nevertheless, he fought hard and showed determination.

De Rossi -6.5: An average show from the Rome-born man. He made some errors, but he was solid in midfield and passing was top. He created space and chances, and outclassed the opposition.

Pirlo -7.5: Italy's man of the match just about. His penalty was of the highest calibre, and although he didn't set the game on fire, he did provide the lead and his long pass led to the second goal from Pazzini.

Di Natale -N/A: Di Natale's game was cut short on seven minutes through injury.

Quagliarella -6.0: The Udinese man was not at his best by any means. He found it hard playing as a second striker behind Iaquinta. He had one shot on goal which was poor and wide.

Iaquinta -6.0: Despite his hot form for Juventus this season, the striker was no real threat to the Montenegrin defence. He struggled to create space and was often isolated up front. Playing with his back to goal for most of the game did him no favours which led to failure in the box.

Subs


Pepe 6.5: The winger deserves praise as his contribution was valuable. He saw Pazzini's lung-bursting run and provided it with the cross it deserved, 'Pazzo' headed it in to stretch Italy's lead. Great work Pepe.

Brighi -5.5

Pazzini -6.5:
What a way to mark your senior Italy debut. Pazzini was the 30th debutant under the Lippi era and he struck in ways only he knows best. A great display from the prolific hitman as he made the result safe with a fine goal.

Salvatore Landolina, Goal.com