MX23RW : Tuesday, August 3 17:56:16| >> :60:1902:1902:

Half-Time Report: Stephen El Shaarawy fires Italy ahead as Azzurri close in on Euro 2016 spot

Italy move halfway toward Euro 2016 after earning a 2-1 half-time lead away to Azerbaijan in a Group H qualifier.

Stephen El Shaarawy has fired Italy into a 2-1 half-time lead in Azerbaijan as the Azzurri moved halfway toward booking their ticket to Euro 2016.

Top of Group H, victory would see Antonio Conte's side confirm their progression, and they took a step towards France on 11 minutes when Eder opened the scoring.

The Sampdoria hitman, Serie A's leading goalscorer so far this season, brought his red-hot form to the international stage when he latched on to a neat pass from Marco Verratti, before tucking his effort beneath the body of Kamran Aghayev.

It was almost two on 17 minutes, and it was Eder again, but this time Aghayev came out on top as he produced a smart save to thwart the striker.

His opener did not seem enough to earn a half-time lead, as Dimitrij Nazarov ran on to Gurban Gurbanov's pass before finishing well past the rooted Gianluigi Buffon on 31 minutes.

However, the AS Monaco man re-established the lead in timely fashion as he tapped home Antonio Candreva's cross just before the break.

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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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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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