MX23RW : Sunday, December 16 08:47:33
Oct 6, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
Italy
1-1
MacedoniaMacedonia
Chiellini (40')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Result: Italy settle for second place with point at home to Macedonia

Result: Italy take second with Macedonia point
© SilverHub
Italy let a one-goal lead slip late on against Macedonia to draw 1-1 and ensure that they can no longer finish top of Group G in World Cup qualifying.

Italy have had to settle second place in the Group G standings, having been held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Macedonia at the Stadio Olimpico this evening.

The Azzurri had slim hopes of overhauling Spain to finish top of the pile, but two dropped points in their penultimate game - coupled with a convincing win for La Roja elsewhere tonight - put paid to that.

Giorgio Chiellini put the hosts on course for a seventh win from nine this campaign, only for Aleksandar Trajkovski to pop up 13 minutes from time and rescue a famous point for his side.

Italy, showing six changes from their most recent outing, would have had an early breakthrough if not for Stole Dimitrievski's stop to deny Lorenzo Insigne after the Napoli ace ran in behind.

Despite dominating possession, Gian Piero Ventura's men were struggling to create too many openings and news soon filtered through of a 3-0 lead for Spain over Albania - essentially killing off their hopes of finishing top.

The Azzurri did at least have a lead to take into the break, though, thanks to Chiellini's tap-in after being picked out by an unselfish Ciro Immobile.

Seven of Italy's last nine goals in qualifying had arrived in the second half of games prior to this one, but a failure to convert possession into chances would come back to haunt them.

Ilija Nestorovski saw a good chance come and go to level up, instead picking out Gianluigi Buffon with his effort from point-blank range.

When Macedonia's equaliser did eventually arrive there could be few complaints following a spell of pressure, as the Red Lions stepped things up to breach the Italians' defence on home soil for the first time in four games.

Trajkovski was played in by Goran Pandev, who plies his club trade at Serie A club Genoa, before superbly finishing at the back post from a tight angle.

Italy's record of never losing a home World Cup qualifier, now standing at 54 matches, was never at risk in the remainder, as Macedonia put enough bodies behind the ball to ensure that there would be no time for a winner at either end.

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Matteo Darmian of Manchester United in action during their Premier League clash with Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on November 6, 2016
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