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Denmark denied at the death by Italy's Aquilani

Denmark 2-2 Italy
The Group B winners got an added-time equaliser from Alberto Aquilani to maintain their unbeaten run and frustrate second-chasing Denmark.

Alberto Aquilani celebrates Italy's last-gasp equaliser
Alberto Aquilani celebrates Italy's last-gasp equaliser ©Getty Images

Alberto Aquilani came off the bench to salvage a 2-2 draw for already qualified Italy and dent Denmark's hopes of securing second spot in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B.

Morten Olsen's team were on the verge of a crucial victory after Nicklas Bendtner struck twice to wipe out Pablo Osvaldo's opener. However, as the clock ticked down, Aquilani levelled to leave Denmark trailing Bulgaria in third by virtue of an inferior goal difference with one game to play.

The contest was 28 minutes old when Osvaldo collected Thiago Motta's searching pass, did Daniel Agger for pace and fired beyond Stephan Andersen. Christian Eriksen and Niki Zimling both toiled in vain to respond, before Bendtner headed in from Michael Kron-Dehli's delicious cross in first-half stoppage time.

The hosts turned up the heat as they sought a second – Eriksen's free-kick bounced back off a post before Andreas Bjelland rattled the crossbar. Danish persistence was rewarded 11 minutes from time, though, as Bendtner towered over Federico Balzaretti and beat Gianluigi Buffon. Seemingly destined for three vital points, Denmark were stung by a late sucker punch as Osvaldo's effort deflected in off substitute Aquilani.

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