Ta' Qali National Stadium - Ta' Qali 26/03/2013 - 20:45CET (20:45 local time)

Qualifying round - Group B

Malta - Italy
0-2
 

Malta - Italy 0-2 - 26/03/2013 - Match page - FIFA World Cup 2014

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Balotelli double keeps Italy flying high

Published: Tuesday 26 March 2013, 23.55CET
Malta 0-2 Italy
The Group B leaders consolidated their hold on the section thanks to two Mario Balotelli goals in Ta' Qali against the section's bottom side.
by Domenic Aquilina
from Ta' Qali National Stadium
Balotelli double keeps Italy flying high
Mario Balotelli has now scored ten goals in his last nine games for club and country ©Getty Images

Match statistics

Malta
Italy

0

Goals scored

2

8

Total attempts

13

2

Attempts on target

3

5

off target

8

0

blocked

0

1

against woodwork

0

2

Corners

7

0

Offsides

6

0

Yellow cards

1

0

Red Cards

0

19

Fouls committed

9

9

Fouls suffered

19

Standings

Last updated: 18/04/2013 12:40 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   

  
Published: Tuesday 26 March 2013, 23.55CET

Balotelli double keeps Italy flying high

Malta 0-2 Italy
The Group B leaders consolidated their hold on the section thanks to two Mario Balotelli goals in Ta' Qali against the section's bottom side.

Italy consolidated their position at the top of FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B as Mario Balotelli struck twice in the first half to secure a fourth win in a row.

With the Ta' Qali National Stadium a sell-out, the home crowd were hoping Pietro Ghedin's team could avoid defeat for the first time against Italy and earn a first point of the campaign. However, AC Milan forward Balotelli dampened their ardour with an eighth-minute penalty, before his second goal on the stroke of half-time secured the Azzurri a three-point lead over second-placed Bulgaria.

Fielding the 4-3-3 formation utilised in Italy's impressive friendly display against Brazil last week, Cesare Prandelli's men swiftly asserted their dominance and it did not take long for the superiority to show. Luke Dimech brought down Stephan El Shaarawy in the area and the striker's club-mate did the rest from the spot.

Malta came back into it with a bang in the 16th minute when they were awarded a penalty of their own, but Michael Mifsud's effort was saved by Gianluigi Buffon, who redeemed himself after fouling André Schembri.

Despite the setback the hosts continued to make a game of it and Clayton Failla and Mifsud both had notable efforts. However, the match was put out of reach on 45 minutes thanks to Balotelli's cool finish after excellent work from Mattia De Sciglio.

The visitors were unable to add to their tally in the second period against the section's bottom side, yet still cruised to the final whistle. Their next outing is in the Czech Republic on 7 June, the same day Malta go to Armenia.

Last updated: 08/05/14 5.42CET

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