Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon superbly saved Adrian Mutu's penalty with nine minutes remaining to keep the World champions' Euro 2008 hopes alive as the Azzurri and Romania battled out a breathless draw in Zurich.
Group C - Matchday 2
ITALY 1-1 ROMANIA
Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich
Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon's late penalty save from Adrian Mutu kept his side in Euro 2008 after a draw with Group C rivals Romania. Italy were denied the lead when Luca Toni was wrongly ruled offside before Mutu lifted in a shot after a poor backheader from Gianluca Zambrotta to put Romania ahead. The lead lasted barely a minute with Christian Panucci touching in Giorgio Chiellini's header across goal. Buffon's heroics then saved Italy ahead of a final group game against France. The tall stopper dived to his left to get a hand to Mutu's spot-kick which was then cleared after coming off his boot.
Buffon's passionate celebration epitomised Italy's relief and they will now have to beat France on Tuesday to stand a chance of reaching the quarter-finals. Romania are also in with a strong shout of a last eight spot but will be left ruing Mutu's miss, which was in keeping with a dramatic and action-packed game.
The Azzurri will need to beat France and hope Romania fail to win against the Netherlands in the other final game, while a score draw will do for Roberto Donadoni's side if the Romanian's are defeated.
Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Panucci, Chiellini, Grosso, Camoranesi (Ambrosini 85), Pirlo, De Rossi, Del Piero (Quagliarella 77), Perrotta (Cassano 58), Toni.
Romania: Lobont, Contra, Tamas, Goian, Rat, Radoi (Dica 25), Petre (Nicolita 59), Codrea, Chivu, Mutu (Cocis 88), Daniel Niculae.
[Euro 2008 Group C]