Italy dispatch Uruguay for first win in 27 years

Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera diving in vain as defender Jose Gimenez (not in picture) scores an own goal in the friendly versus Italy. The Azzurri will be in a confident mood ahead of their World Cup qualifier against minnows Liechtenstein.
Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera diving in vain as defender Jose Gimenez (not in picture) scores an own goal in the friendly versus Italy. The Azzurri will be in a confident mood ahead of their World Cup qualifier against minnows Liechtenstein.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NICE (France) • A bizarre own goal by defender Jose Gimenez early in the game set Italy on the way to a convincing 3-0 win over Uruguay in a friendly played in Nice on Wednesday.

Two more goals in the last 10 minutes - a header from Brazilian-born forward Eder and a Daniele De Rossi penalty - condemned the South Americans to their fifth successive defeat, while Italy extended their unbeaten run to nine games.

It was the first time Italy had beaten Uruguay in 27 years, and also the first meeting between the two sides since their controversial match at the 2014 World Cup when Uruguay forward Luis Suarez bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The incident was missed by match officials, but Suarez was subsequently suspended from football for four months and banned for nine competitive internationals.

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Uruguay's 1-0 win meant that Italy were knocked out in the group stage, prompting both coach Cesare Prandelli and federation president Giancarlo Abete to quit.

Suarez missed the game through injury, while Chiellini came off the bench in the second half.

Italy were gifted a seventh-minute lead when Gimenez inadvertently rifled a shot past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Uruguay, also missing their other forward Edinson Cavani through injury, could not take their chances.

The victory offers Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura a boost ahead of their World Cup home qualifier against Liechtenstein on Sunday.

Italy are level at the top of Group G with Spain on 13 points after five games. Liechtenstein are bottom with zero points.

"Slowly but surely we're achieving the goals we set out for ourselves," Ventura said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2017, with the headline 'Italy dispatch Uruguay for first win in 27 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe