2 of 10 people who visits my blog use Firefox!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Euro2008 Qualifying, Italy 2-0 Scotland

Toni puts Italy back on course

A goal in each half from Luca Toni delivered an important 2-0 win for Italy over Scotland in their Euro 2008 Group B qualifier at the Stadio San Nicola in Bari.

The Fiorentina striker"s goals in the twelfth and 70th minutes proved enough to overcome a spirited performance from Alex McLeish's side who pushed the world champions but ultimately could not trouble them enough to get a result.

Toni sprung into life after only two minutes when he forced a last-ditch tackle from Celtic defender Stephen McManus to block a shot, in what proved to be a curtain-raiser to a personal duel.
The Italian then got across his marker on just four minutes and headed wide. Hearts 'keeper Craig Gordon had the effort well-covered, but the chance served as a warning as to what the striker was capable of.

McManus was beaten by a good yard to a Massimo Oddo free-kick from the right in the twelfth minute and Toni headed Italy into the lead.
Scotland were not about to lie down though and they came back at Roberto Donadoni's team. Barry Ferguson cut a left-side cross into Scott Brown - impressive in his first international start - but Marco Materazzi cleared.

Kenny Miller was flagged offside in the 23rd minute as he tried to turn in a corner, and a Mauro Camoranesi through-ball found Toni rushing goalwards, but also ahead of play as signalled by the linesman.

Italy suppressed the Scottish midfield, hounding them when they had possession and offering little in the way of hope when in control of the ball themselves.
Wigan's Lee McCulloch tried to catch Gianluigi Buffon off-guard after half an hour with a volley from 25 yards but the Juventus stopper was wise to his opponent's intentions.
Italy continued to look the more threatening across the pitch, but Scotland emanated danger when they did manage to get forward.

McCulloch had a weak penalty claim turned down as he tangled with Fabio Cannavaro in the area, and Scotland finished the half with two near misses in quick succession.
First Miller cut back from the by-line to McCulloch who could not make it in time to get a telling touch. Then the Celtic striker himself glanced a header wide from the edge of the six-yard area in what was a gilt-edged opportunity to level the score going into half time.
Gordon opened the second period with two magnificent stops from Antonio Di Natale. Both efforts were one-on-one and the Scottish 'keeper came out on top twice in the space of three minutes to make sure that Scotland were in with a chance for the remainder.
Scotland tried to push forward, Ferguson flicking a header into the area with no-one in support, but it was Italy who looked the likelier to score.

Oddo and Camoranesi continued to provide tantalising crosses for Toni to attack, and with 20 minutes remaining he converted one of those deliveries.
A superb curler from the right from the Juventus man found Toni at the far post for a simple downward header.

That goal effectively killed the game off, and despite there being time for Scotland to grab a consolation they never really went close.
A late Scottish corner sailed untouched across the Italian six-yard box, but that was matched by a cross from Oddo that flashed across the Scottish face of goal.
Substitute Craig Beattie had a shot blocked in added time, and that was as close as McLeish's men went to breaking the Italian back line.

Euro 2008 qualifying matches, Italy 2-0 Scotland highlights: