Wednesday, 21 November 2007

[U21 Qual] Pozzi spares Azzurrini's Faroes blushes

A late goal from second-half substitute Nicola Pozzi gave ten-man Italy a 1-0 victory against the Faroe Islands in Torshavn to keep the Azzurrini top of their 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship group.

Pierluigi Casiraghi's side missed several first-half opportunities with Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Alessio Cerci both culpable. And it looked as though the match would finish goalless until Pozzi struck ten minutes from time.

Osvaldo had squandered the best early openings when he twice missed the target with only Gunnar Nielsen to beat. Cerci then hit the bar with a close-range header moments before Fabiano Santacroce's sending-off on 42 minutes.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Azzurrini continued to press in the second half yet were nearly undone when goalkeeper Andrea Consigli was stretched by Bogi Lokin.

With the clock ticking down, Casiraghi replaced Osvaldo with Pozzi and the move proved decisive. The Empoli striker immediately tested the reflexes of Nielsen with a right-footed shot before nodding in the only goal from Paolo De Ceglie's left-wing cross.

The win keeps Italy a point clear of nearest rivals Croatia in Group 1.

Group 1 Results:
Wednesday 21 November
Azerbaijan 0-1 Croatia
Faroe Islands 0-1 Italy
Greece 2-1 Albania

Group 1 Standings:
[1] ITA - PLD: 07 - PTS: 19
[2] CRO - PLD: 08 - PTS: 18
[3] GRE - PLD: 07 - PTS: 13
[4] ALB - PLD: 07 - PTS: 10
[5] FAR - PLD: 08 - PTS: 03
[6] AZE - PLD: 07 - PTS: 01

Group 1 Fixtures:
Tuesday 25 March
Azerbaijan v Italy

Source: UEFA

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