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Brilliant Balotelli earns Italy comeback draw

Published: Thursday 21 March 2013, 22.35CET
Italy 2-2 Brazil
The Azzurri trailed 2-0 at the break but Mario Balotelli's second-half stunner secured the UEFA EURO 2012 runners-up a draw in Geneva.
Brilliant Balotelli earns Italy comeback draw
Mario Balotelli is mobbed by his Italy team-mates ©AFP/Getty Images

Published: Thursday 21 March 2013, 22.35CET

Brilliant Balotelli earns Italy comeback draw

Italy 2-2 Brazil
The Azzurri trailed 2-0 at the break but Mario Balotelli's second-half stunner secured the UEFA EURO 2012 runners-up a draw in Geneva.

Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli scored second-half goals as Italy came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Brazil at the Stade de Genève in Switzerland.

The Azzurri, who controlled proceedings for long periods, were hit with a sucker punch courtesy of Fred's 33rd-minute opener. Chelsea FC schemer Oscar weighed in with a second for the Seleção, who were wobbling when De Rossi halved the deficit nine minutes after the restart, before Balotelli unleashed a devastating blow. 

Júlio César had to be at his best to repel quickfire strikes from Emanuele Giaccherini and Balotelli as Italy attacked with intent. Opposite number Gianluigi Buffon was a mere bystander, meanwhile, until Fred volleyed past the Juventus goalkeeper after Leonardo Bonucci had failed to deal with David Luiz's centre.

Andrea Pirlo and Balotelli both spurned opportunities to draw Italy level and they were made to pay for their profligacy as Oscar latched onto Neymar's neat pass and finished unerringly past Buffon. Unperturbed, Cesare Prandelli's charges continued to probe and finally ended Brazil's resolve through De Rossi's sweetly struck volley.

The goal of the night was lying in wait, however, as Balotelli arrowed a rasping 25-metre drive beyond César. The AC Milan striker was then denied a memorable winner from close range as Italy finished with a flurry ahead of Tuesday's 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Malta.

Last updated: 22/03/13 13.55CET

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