Soccer

Italy held to draw by Haiti in Confederations Cup warmup

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The Canadian Press
6/11/2013 7:40:21 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- An understrength Italy conceded two late goals in a 2-2 draw with Haiti in a Confederations Cup warmup match 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, home of the Vasco da Gama club. 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 its second goal and 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," Prandelli said. "But I'm not worried. We have (five) days to work on our physical condition. And we also need to find more motivation. I know it was a long club season but we need to produce something special here."

Italy also struggled in its last match, when it was held to a 0-0 draw by the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier last week.

In Group A of the Confederations Cup, Italy opens against Mexico on Sunday then faces Japan and host Brazil.

Tight defence (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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