Substitute Giuseppe Rossi scored twice as world champions Italy came from behind to defeat 10-man USA 3-1 in their opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Pretoria.
The United States, who had Ricardo Clark sent off in the first half of this Group B clash, took the lead at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium through a Landon Donovan penalty.
But Italy came storming back in the second-half as Villarreal forward Rossi scored two stunning goals either side of a strike from Daniele De Rossi.
An organised USA side operated with the intent to frustrate Italy in the opening exchanges and it worked as Marcello Lippi's men were stifled.
However, Bob Bradley's game plan was rocked on 34 minutes when Clark was shown a straight red card for a high, sliding tackle on AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso.
But the dismissal did not rattle The Stars and Stripes and they took the lead with four minutes of the first half remaining when Donovan struck from the spot after Giorgio Chiellini had brought down Josmer Altidore.
However, after the interval the Azzurri turned the screw as their numerical advantage began to make an impact.
Lippi shuffled his pack on 58 minutes, with Rossi replacing Gattuso, and the move immediately paid off as, 60 seconds after his introduction, the former Parma man hammered a stunning, 35-yard equaliser.
And then on 72 minutes Italy took the lead in an entertaining encounter as De Rossi hit a low, long-range second before Rossi wrapped up the win with a tap in, after a superb team move, on the stroke of full-time.
In the day's other Group B game it took a last-minute penalty by new Real Madrid signing Ricardo Kaka to earn holders Brazil a 4-3 win over Egypt in Bloemfontein.
After Kaka and Mohamed Zidane had traded early goals, Brazil looked to have taken a firm grip on proceedings when Luis Fabiano and Juan put them 3-1 ahead before the break.
However, two goals in as many minutes from Mohamed Shawky and Zidan early in the second period would have secured Egypt a draw but for Kaka's 90th-minute spot-kick, awarded when the referee spotted Ahmed Al Muhamadi's goalline handball and sent the player off.
Italy will now take on African champions Egypt in Johannesburg on Thursday night, while Brazil play USA.
USA: Howard, Spector, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bornstein (Kljestan 86), Bradley, Feilhaber, Clark, Dempsey, Altidore (Davies 66), Donovan.
Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Chiellini, Legrottaglie, Grosso, Camoranesi (Montolivo 57), Gattuso (Rossi 58), De Rossi, Pirlo, Iaquinta, Gilardino (Toni 69).
[FIFA Confederations Cup 2009]
Source: Sky Sports