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Half-Time Report: Daniele De Rossi penalty puts Italy ahead at the break

Italy hold a 1-0 half-time lead over visitors Bulgaria in their Euro 2016 qualifying clash, thanks to an early penalty from veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi.

Daniele De Rossi's penalty has given hosts Italy a 1-0 half-time advantage over Bulgaria in their Euro 2016 qualifying clash this evening.

Italy made a fantastic start to the match when Antonio Candreva went down inside the box in the opening minutes, allowing De Rossi to convert the penalty at the second time of asking after being made to retake following suspected encroachment.

Daniele De Rossi of Italy scores a penalty to make it 1-0 during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.© Getty Images

The home side looked to build on the lead when Graziano Pelle teed up Stephan El Shaarawy, only for his strike partner to bend his volley away from goal.

Italy's goalscorer almost put his side in trouble when he lost the ball in midfield, allowing Iliyan Mitsanski to burst forward before eventually being denied by a standout save from Gianluigi Buffon.

The hosts should have doubled their lead on the 30-minute mark when Marco Verratti flashed an incisive ball across the box, where Pelle rose highest to send a header a matter of inches over the crossbar.

De Rossi might have secured a brace before the interval, but he headed over poorly after Verratti had again done well to cross from the flank, leaving Italy to go into half time with a 1-0 lead.

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Graziano Pelle of Italy celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the EURO 2016 Group H Qualifier match between Italy and Malta during the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier between Italy and Malta on September 3, 2015
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