Haiti hold Italy in Confederations Cup warm-up match

AP, RIO DE JANEIRO

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - Page 18

An under-strength Italy conceded two late goals in a 2-2 draw with Haiti in a Confederations Cup warm-up match on Tuesday, highlighting a lack of cohesion for the Azzurri only five days before the tournament begins.

Italy immediately took control when Emanuele Giaccherini redirected a cross from Antonio Candreva just 19 seconds in at the Sao Januario Stadium. However, the European runners-up had trouble finishing for the next 70 minutes and Haiti came close to equalizing on several occasions, before substitute Claudio Marchisio doubled the lead from a rebound in the 72nd after Mario Balotelli had set up Stephan El Shaarawy.

Italy relaxed again after their second goal, while substitute Olrish Saurel pulled one back for Haiti with an 85th-minute penalty, after Davide Astori took down Jean-Eudes Maurice. Jean Philippe equalized in the 90th with a long, angled shot.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli blamed the performance on jet lag.

“We knew that was a risk, but I’m not worried,” Prandelli said. “We have [five] days to work on our physical condition.”

In Group A of the Confederations Cup, Italy are to open against Mexico on Sunday, then face Japan and hosts Brazil.