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Italy beats 10-man US 3-1 at Confederations Cup

AMERICAN-BORN forward Giuseppe Rossi came off the bench and scored two goals yesterday to help Italy beat 10-man United States 3-1 in the Confederations Cup.

Rossi, who was born in New Jersey, equalized with a 30-meter (yard) strike in the 59th after the Americans had gone ahead with a penalty from Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan in the 41st minute. Rossi added a second in injury time after being set up by Andrea Pirlo in the center of the area.

"If you're playing against the team which is the country where you are born, it's always a great emotion coming in," Rossi said. "But when you're on the field you have no plan. You just think about playing the game and trying to win your game."

Daniele De Rossi also scored for Italy, sending in a long, angled shot in the 72nd minute.

Three years ago, De Rossi was banned for four games of Italy's World Cup victory for bloodying the face of United States forward Brian McBride with his elbow.

After scoring in the rematch, the AS Roma midfielder was swarmed by his teammates and appeared on the verge of tears.

Donovan's penalty was awarded after 19-year-old forward Jozy Altidore was kicked in the calf from behind by Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon dove right and Donovan calmly deposited the ball in the other corner to raise his US record total to 40 international goals.

US midfielder Ricardo Clark was shown a direct red card for stretching his foot up to trip Gennaro Gattuso right below the Italy midfielder's knee in the 33rd.

"It seemed harsh. For me, it's probably more yellow," United States coach Bob Bradley said. "To have to play that amount of time down a man against Italy is difficult."

Italy had trouble at the start with its tactic of launching high balls to forwards Alberto Gilardino and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

"There were two players who gave us problems - No. 5, whose name I don't remember, got to every header," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said, referring to Oguchi Onyewu. "And Altidore was dangerous in attack.

"Little by little we managed to get back into the game. Of course we were helped by the expulsion, but it's not always easy to play with 11 against 10 against such a physical team. Look at the game from three years ago, which started out 11 on 10 and then finished 10 on nine."

Italy joined Brazil at the top of Group B with three points each. The Brazilians edged Egypt 4-3 in the other Group B game.

The tournament's run of poor attendance continued, with several thousand seats left empty inside the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, one of South Africa's best known rugby grounds. Fans blew on horns through the match, creating a deafening sound, and Italian supporters greatly outnumbered American fans.

At the 2006 World Cup, a physical 1-1 draw with the Americans was the only blemish on the Azzurri's otherwise perfect run in Germany.

Three years later, nine of Italy's starters were holdovers from the World Cup squad.

The match started at a languid pace until Altidore started applying pressure to the Azzurri's vaunted defense. On his first attempt to move in from the right flank, the teenager was tackled by De Rossi, but Altidore then earned a well-positioned free kick that Clint Dempsey sent high over the target in the eighth.

Italy responded five minutes later with a long shot from Gilardino that rolled directly into the arms of goalkeeper Tim Howard.

United States defender Jonathan Bornstein was shown a yellow card for pulling down Mauro Camoranesi in the 20th and Pirlo's ensuing free kick was headed wide by Legrottaglie.

The Americans had a good chance in the 30th when Donovan carried the ball upfield between three defenders and passed to Altidore, who passed up a clear chance and shifted the ball back to Donovan instead, allowing the defense to recover and take over.

The United States was lucky not to concede an own-goal when Camoranesi was flagged for offside after Bornstein had intercepted a pass and deflected the ball into his own net.

Despite the man advantage, Italy began the second half at an even slower pace than the first. The Azzurri stood around mostly inactive until Lippi made two changes in the 59th, inserting Rossi and midfielder Riccardo Montolivo for Gattuso and Camoranesi.

Three minutes later, Rossi's stripped the ball from Benny Feilhaber and drew Italy even.

A long shot from Pirlo was batted away by Howard in the 68th and Iaquinta missed the rebound. The Azzurri then gathered steam, and Toni replaced Gilardino a minute later as Italy came forward with four strikers, eventually resulting in Rossi's second goal.

"Certainly it would have been our hope that Giuseppe played for the US, but he made his decision and he's a very talented player and today was a very exciting day for him," Bradley said.


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