Cesc's Fab strike denies Italy

Defending champions Spain came from behind to draw 1-1 with Italy in Euro 2012 Group C, with Antonio Di Natale and Cesc Fabregas scoring.

Last Updated: 10/06/12 at 19:57 Post Comment

Fabregas: Celebrates his equaliser

Fabregas: Celebrates his equaliser

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Fernando Torres fluffed two late chances as Spain's hopes of making a winning start to the tournament foundered in Gdansk.

Torres, who has endured a wretched period at Chelsea since joining from Liverpool in January 2011, was sent on by Vicente Del Bosque shortly after Fabregas cancelled out Di Natale's opener.

But he could not conjure up a winner as the opening match in Group C ended all square.

Del Bosque opted to utilise the 'false number nine' formation which saw them line-up without a recognised striker and although there were moments of promise from offensive midfielders Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and David Silva, Spain lacked a focal point until Torres' introduction after 74 minutes.

Silva fired a ninth-minute drive over the bar from 25 yards and the Manchester City man drew an 11th-minute save from Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon after a swift break from Iniesta.

But the Azzurri's impressive trio of central defenders, Daniele De Rossi, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, managed to snuff out the rest of Spain's forays forward in a cagey opening period.

At the other end, Italy, inspired by the impressive Antonio Cassano, offered a genuine goal threat.

Andrea Pirlo saw a free-kick saved by Iker Casillas, who then denied Cassano and Claudio Marchisio, whose blistering volley would surely have gone in had it not been straight at the Real Madrid goalkeeper.

First-half injury-time saw both sides create their best chances of the period.

First, a typically incisive through-ball from Xavi presented a wonderful opportunity for Barcelona team-mate Iniesta but his first touch was uncharacteristically poor, meaning his second only resulted in a tame volleyed lob over the bar.

And then, Cassano escaped down the right and whipped in a wonderful cross for Thiago Motta, whose header was superbly palmed to safety by Casillas.

The Spanish came out with greater verve after the break and Buffon twice had to make smart saves, the first from Fabregas and the second a stunner to deny Iniesta.

But Italy were still causing headaches for Del Bosque's men in defence.

And it led to a momentary lapse in concentration from Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid central defender dispossessed by Mario Balotelli as he attempted a back pass to Casillas.

Balotelli was clear on goal but took an age to get a shot in, allowing Ramos to get back and smuggle the ball behind for a corner.

It proved Balotelli's final act as he was hauled off by Italy boss Cesare Prandelli in favour of Di Natale.

And the Udinese veteran made an immediate impact as he opened the scoring within four minutes, latching on to Pirlo's inch-perfect pass before coolly slotting past the onrushing Casillas.

A shock seemed on the cards but world and European champions Spain hit back almost immediately.

A beautiful flicked pass with the outside of his left boot from Silva picked out Fabregas and he made no mistake with a crisp finish under Buffon.

Del Bosque finally introduced a striker in Torres and although the former Atletico Madrid man looked sharp, he still appeared short on confidence in front of goal.

After 75 minutes he tried to round Buffon but the Juventus goalkeeper made a clean tackle and, then 10 minutes later, a clever one-two with Xavi saw Torres burst through but his attempted chip drifted narrowly over.

In between, Sebastian Giovinco picked out Di Natale five yards from goal but his volley at full stretch went wide.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

inners: F365 for not getting so caught up in transfer deadline day, for getting rid of the ridiculous live blog and for having jobs where all they do is talk about football.

man of ire
Transfer Window Winners & Losers...

P

ictorially, this would be represented by a rotund lady, arms folded screaming, ' you been told, stay away from my man'.

mufc phil
United respond on De Gea

T

his should end the myth that only English players are over priced

cookie_monster
United wrap up surprise Martial deal

Footer 365

Barcelona: Messi will stay for life

Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona for "the rest of his life", according to the club¿s sporting director Robert Fernandez.

Insigne to stay at Napoli for life - Agent

Lorenzo Insigne intends to end his career with Napoli, scuppering hopes Arsene Wenger might have had of bringing the striker to The Emirates.

Gradel out and now Mings gets season KO

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has confirmed that £8million summer signing Tyrone Mings will miss the rest of the season.

Mail Box

Why Aren't Manchester City Criticised More?

Manchester City aren't being criticised enough for their spending. Also, the David De Gea situation is explained in full and we have a running Winners and Losers table.

Wenger Guilty Of The Most Negligent Of Acts

Arsene Wenger comes in for a lot of Danny Welbeck based flak in the Mailbox. We also have a happy Spurs fan, and someone pleading to stop the Van Gaal revisionism.

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company