Press Esc to close
Thursday 30 July 2015
News updated at 11:36 PM IST
Weather
Max: 19°C
Min : 32°C
In Bengaluru
Rain lightly

Brilliant Balotelli, Pirlo steal the show

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 17, 2013, Reuters:

Confederations Cup: Italy notch up 2-1 win over Mexico; Spain cruise past Uruguay

 Andrea Pirlo, center, is celebrated by his teammates Mario Balotelli, left, and Giorgio Chiellini after scoring the opening goal during the soccer Confederations Cup group A match between Mexico and Italy at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo)

Mario Balotelli scored the winner and Andrea Pirlo, capping a majestic 100th international appearance by scoring with a 30-metre free kick, provided the inspiration as Italy beat Mexico 2-1 in their opening Confederations Cup match on Sunday.

Pirlo’s goal was entirely worthy of the hallowed Maracana, which provided the perfect stage as he became the fifth Italian to reach a century of full internationals.
The 34-year-old brought the fickle and notoriously difficult-to-please Maracana crowd to its feet as he curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner in the 27th minute from distance.

The crowd chanted Pirlo’s name before and after the goal, the rarest honour for a foreign player on a stage previously graced by the likes of Garrincha, Pele, Zico and Romario.

“I don’t have words to describe Pirlo, he’s an example to everyone,” Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told reporters.

Balotelli’s goal was more about power as he latched on to Emanuele Giaccherini’s flicked pass, barged past defender Francisco Rodriguez and fired the ball past Jose Corona with 12 minutes to go. Javier Hernandez had replied for Mexico with a penalty seven minutes after Pirlo's masterpiece.

Balotelli, whose notorious temper had been bubbling under the surface for most of the second half, took his shirt off in celebration, earning a yellow card and a reprimand from his coach. “He wanted to take his shirt off and show his muscles, but all the yellow cards count,” said Prandelli, who has previously suspended Balotelli for indiscipline with former club Manchester City. “But he played well and didn’t let anyone get to him. He was attentive for the whole game and has shown strength of character.”  The defeat heaped more pressure on Mexico’s under-fire coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, whose team have been held to draws at home by Costa Rica, Jamaica and the United States in World Cup qualifying.

The match was again played against the backdrop of teargas and rubber bullets as riot police confronted protesters outside the Maracana stadium.

A similar demonstration had marred Saturday’s opening match between hosts Brazil and Japan in Brasilia. The protests are against the amount of public money being spent on staging the event and next year's World Cup.

Balotelli had a couple of early chances for Italy while Mexico’s Andres Guardado shaved the crossbar after mistake by Ignazio Abete in a lively start to the Group A encounter. Pirlo, always at the heart of the action, had a penalty turned down before bringing the Maracana to its feet with his 27th-minute goal. Mexico levelled seven minutes later when Andrea Barzagli was dispossessed by Giovani dos Santos and then barged over the Mexican forward. Hernandez sent Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Pirlo then produced an outrageous reverse pass to release Abete on the right, the move ending when Balotelli’s effort was blocked by Corona. Pirlo’s free kicks continued to cause trouble after the break and he curled another effort just wide of the post from a similar position to his goal. He also craftily rolled another free kick under the Mexican wall, leaving Riccardo Montolivo with a free shot which was blocked by Corona.

Italy grabbed the winner when Giaccherini cleverly flicked the ball into the penalty area where Balotelli held off Rodriguez and fired the ball past Corona.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
People worship a bull during Bendur festival in Sangli on Wednesday...

People worship a bull during Bendur festival in Sangli on Wednesday...

Fire brigade and NDRF personnel rescue a person stuck in the three floor Matru-Chhaya...

Fire brigade and NDRF personnel rescue a person stuck in the three floor Matru-Chhaya...

Students of Patna Women's College wear tiger masks to create awareness to save tigers...

Students of Patna Women's College wear tiger masks to create awareness to save tigers...

Monsoon clouds over the Royal Palace in Agartala on Wednesday...

Monsoon clouds over the Royal Palace in Agartala on Wednesday...

Police firing tear gas shells to disperse protesters at a mass protest rally on the second...

Police firing tear gas shells to disperse protesters at a mass protest rally on the second...

Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah pays his last respects to the former president APJ Abdul...

Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah pays his last respects to the former president APJ Abdul...

School students hold up a picture in tribute to former President APJ Abdul Kalam in Gurgaon...

School students hold up a picture in tribute to former President APJ Abdul Kalam in Gurgaon...

A Military Vehicle carrying the mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam...

A Military Vehicle carrying the mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam...

Tri-services personnel carry the mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam...

Tri-services personnel carry the mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam...

Soldiers escort a gun carriage carrying the body of former Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam...

Soldiers escort a gun carriage carrying the body of former Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523