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Italy 2-2 Brazil: Sensational Balotelli strike stuns Seleção

Mowa Press

The Selecao were stunned by an Italian comeback in the space of just four second half minutes as they drew 2-2 in the international friendly clash at the Stade de Geneve.

Brazil had raced into a two goal lead in the first half thanks to Fred and Oscar but goals from Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli earned a draw for Italy.

A frantic start saw the first chance fall to the Italians as Júlio César was forced to pull off a smart stop from Emanuele Giaccherini after the midfielder cut in from the left flank.

Spaces were opening up in the early stages as Neymar drove at the Azzurri defence before unleashing a long range effort which was easily parried by Gianluigi Buffon.

Balotelli could and should have put his side into the lead as he latched onto a long pass from De Rossi before firing straight at César.

The former Manchester City striker threatened again from the edge of the box but a timely David Luiz boot deflected the effort past the far post.

Another delightful pass from Andrea Pirlo found Maggio behind the Seleção defence but the full-back couldn't get his shot away as César quickly closed him down.

The Azzurri were easily coping with an ineffectual Brazil attack and posed problems of their own on the counterattack with Balotelli in a dangerous mood.

A frustrated challenge from Fluminense's Fred earned him a yellow card as he went in strongly on De Rossi.

Despite Italy's dominance, it was Brazil who took the lead as Fred coolly volleyed past Buffon after a Filipe Luis cross fell to him at the back post.

And it wasn't long before the Seleção added another on the counterattack, Neymar threading a pass into Oscar's path and the Chelsea star prodding home to double their lead.

But Italy almost pulled a goal back before the half-time whistle as Osvaldo's effort crept agonisingly wide of the far post with Cesar stranded.

After the break, Italy rang the changes with AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy and Torino winger Alessio Cerci taking to the field in place of Osvaldo and Pirlo.

Italy pulled a goal back minutes after the restart as De Rossi prodded home from a corner after Cesar had initally denied El Shaarawy.

Just moments later, the Azzurri were level as Balotelli finally delivered what he'd threatened to do all game and curled a sensational effort past César from all of 30 yards.

Selecao boss Luiz Felipe Scolari introduced Kaká to the field of play in an effort to stem the tide as Italy threatened to complete the comeback.

And Balotelli should have finished the turnaround as the striker was gifted another gilt-edged chance but contrived to shoot straight at César with the goal at his mercy.

Diego Costa was then brought on for his international debut as the Atletico Madrid striker replaced Fred after the hour mark.

The game entered a lull as a raft of substitutions took its toll but shortly Balotelli found himself through on goal once again, this time denied by an excellent stop from Dante.

El Shaarawy very nearly won it for Italy in the latter stages but his curling effort flashed inches wide of the post with Cesar rooted to the spot.

The final minutes passed without much incident and Scolari will have much to reflect upon on an evening with plenty of positives and negatives to be found for the Selecao.

Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Dante, Filipe Luis (Marcelo, 76), Fernando, Hernanes, Oscar (Kaka, 60), Hulk (Jean, 84), Neymar, Fred (Diego Costa, 68).

Italy: Buffon, Maggio, De Sciglio (Antonelli, 73), Barzagli, Bonucci, De Rossi (Diamanti, 80), Pirlo (Cerci, 45), Montolivo, Giaccherini (Poli, 67), Balotelli (Gilardino, 82), Osvaldo (El Shaarawy, 45).


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