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Pedro breaks Italy's resistance in Madrid

Spain 1-0 Italy
FC Barcelona's Pedro Rodríguez made the difference with a 63rd-minute winner in Madrid in what was a repeat of the UEFA EURO 2012 final. 

Pedro Rodríguez wheels away after scoring for Spain against Italy
Pedro Rodríguez wheels away after scoring for Spain against Italy ©AFP/Getty Images

A second-half strike from FC Barcelona forward Pedro Rodríguez helped Spain to a friendly victory over fellow 2014 FIFA World Cup contenders Italy in Madrid.

Despite dominating possession for large parts of the teams' 32nd meeting, Vicente del Bosque's side took until the 63rd minute to forge in front, Pedro taking advantage of clever build-up play between Andrés Iniesta and David Silva to fire home his 14th goal for La Roja.

Spain had enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 win against Cesare Prandelli's Azzurri the last time these countries met in the final of UEFA EURO 2012, yet the hosts suffered an early fright in their latest encounter when Alessio Cerci's fourth-minute centre from the right came back off goalkeeper Iker Casillas's far post.

As the half progressed Pedro tested Gianluigi Buffon with a shot from range which the keeper blocked, while at the other end Pablo Osvaldo curled wide from the edge of the area.

The world and European champions had lost 1-0 in South Africa in their previous friendly in November and looked to avoid another setback to their World Cup preparations, continuing to probe for openings at the Estadio Vicente Calderón. Thiago Alcántara thought he had found one when played through by Silva at the start of the second half, only for Buffon to repel the FC Bayern München midfielder. The Italy No1 could do little to deny Pedro's determined finish shortly after the hour, however, as Spain chalked up a tenth victory in this fixture.    

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