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Italy sneak a draw in Amsterdam

Wednesday 6 February 2013 22.58 CET
Marco Verratti wheels away after his last-gasp equaliser against the Netherlands

Marco Verratti scored in added time as Italy salvaged a 1-1 draw in their friendly game against the Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA.

The Paris Saint-Germain FC midfielder lifted the ball over Tim Krul in the dying seconds to restore parity against the youngest Oranje side to be fielded in almost a century. Coach Louis van Gaal started without regulars like Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart, with Daley Blind and Ola John making their Oranje debuts from the kick-off. Perhaps tellingly, the Netherlands' first XI had just 113 caps between them; Italy's had 417.

The relatively aged Robin van Persie led the Dutch line to begin with, though it was Adam Maher who had the best chances on goal, twice testing Gianluigi Buffon. At the other end Mario Balotelli fired wide from a rare Italy opening. The Netherlands duly took the lead after 33 minutes, Jeremain Lens cleverly chipping an opponent before driving a powerful shot into the net.

Jonathan De Guzmán became the third Dutch debutant when he came on after the break, and there looked only one team that could win it, with Buffon saving from Lens before Arjen Robben and Dirk Kuyt missed good opportunities. However, the Azzurri had a sting in their tail, with Verratti striking his first international goal after Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Alberto Gilardino had gone close for Cesare Prandelli's side.

 

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