Weakened Uruguay squad stuns Italy

BY foxsports • November 15, 2011

An under-strength Uruguay pulled off a surprise win over Italy in Tuesday night's international friendly in Rome.

Seba Fernandez's third-minute goal was the difference between the two sides at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Azzurri had numerous chances to level the score but were denied by some good goalkeeping from former Lazio player Fernando Muslera.

Uruguay had defender Alvaro Pereira sent off with nine minutes remaining for a second bookable offence but Oscar Tabarez's men held on for victory.

The win allowed the South Americans to extend their unbeaten run to 13 games while Italy suffered their first loss since June.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli had said Uruguay would be his team's toughest opponents since he took over the national side last year.

Uruguay were without injured Diego Forlan, Abel Hernandez and Walter Gargano - three players on the books of Serie A clubs.

Moreover, Tabarez, a former AC-Milan coach, rested Luis Suarez.

The Liverpool forward had scored all four of his team's goals in Friday's 4-0 triumph over Chile in World Cup qualifying.

Prandelli handed Daniel Osvaldo his first start with Italy, with the Roma forward partnering Manchester City's Mario Balotelli in attack.

Balotelli, who scored his first goal with the Azzurri in Friday's 2-0 triumph at Poland, had the first chance of the game in the opening minute.

His left-footed strike from 30 yards was kept out by Muslera.

Uruguay went in front soon after.

Fernandez controlled Martin Caceres' cross from the right and he struck the ball from the heart of the area past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Italy pressed forward and Muslera did well to clear long-range attempts from Riccardo Montolivo and Balotelli.

The hosts had a chance to equalise in the 19th minute.

Osvaldo got his head behind Christian Maggio's cross and his effort went just wide of the far post.

On the half-hour mark, Muslera did well to clear Osvaldo's powerful header from Daniele De Rossi's cross.

Balotelli twice had the chance to level matters before half-time but his 10-yard effort was denied by Muslera and seconds later, his powerful header went wide.

Prandelli brought on Simone Pepe after the re-start and for a while, they caused Uruguay problems.

Muslera made a save from Pepe's powerful 15-yard volley.

Italy wasted a good chance on the hour mark.

De Rossi fed Maggio inside the area and he struck the ball over the bar. With 10 minutes remaining, Muslera kept out Federico Balzaretti's shot from close range.

However, all of Italy's pressing came to nothing as Uruguay, despite playing with 10 men for the last 10 minutes, defended deeply and held on for victory.