Result: Ten-man Italy squeeze past Denmark

Mario Balotelli
© PA Photos
Italy record a 3-1 win over Denmark despite having a man sent off in the opening stages of the second half.

Italy have maintained their unbeaten record in Group B of the World Cup qualifiers thanks to a 3-1 win over Denmark.

The visitors made a bright start to the match, coming close through Nicklas Bendtner and Christian Eriksen within the first 10 minutes.

Italy almost took the lead after 20 minutes when Mario Balotelli did well down the left before pulling the ball back to Claudio Marchisio, but his effort was cleared off the line by Simon Kjaer.

The hosts did take the lead 15 minutes later, however, as Balotelli touched the ball onto Riccardo Montolivo, who fired home a fine strike from 25 yards.

The lead was doubled just three minutes later when Andrea Pirlo crossed the ball to Daniele de Rossi, who stole in at the near post to head in from six yards.

The Danes got a goal back right on the stroke of half-time through William Kvist effort, the midfielder half-volleying a loose ball into the bottom corner.

Italy's second half got off to a nightmare start as Pablo Osvaldo was shown a red card for elbowing Thomas Kristensen.

This didn't seem to affect the hosts, however, as they extended their lead 10 minutes later when Balotelli beat the keeper to the ball, poking home from 10 yards.

Denmark couldn't take full advantage of their extra man as Italy held out for a hard-fought 3-1 win.

Morten Olsen
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