International Friendly: Italy 2 Haiti 2
By Football News
Haiti staged a dramatic late comeback to earn an unexpected draw against Italy in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Cesare Prandelli's men were in command for most of the FIFA Confederations Cup warm-up game and looked to be cruising to victory thanks to goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Claudio Marchisio.
However, Haiti were never lacking in spirit, and they clinched a draw in the dying embers of the match when Jean-Philippe Peguero netted in stoppage time after Olrish Saurel had pulled one back from the penalty spot.
Prandelli named what was very much a second-string side for the encounter - leaving the likes of Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo on the bench - with Udinese's Antonio Candreva and Bologna's Alberto Gilardino handed starts.
These changes did not affect the rhythm of Italy's play however, and they look the lead just 19 seconds into the game when Giaccherini volleyed in after latching on to Candreva's left-wing cross.
Candreva almost doubled the lead when his long-range effort was saved by Haiti keeper Frandy Montrevil after 11 minutes and the midfielder, who spent last season on loan at Lazio, went close again six minutes later as he hit a right-footed shot just wide.
The chances soon dried up however as Haiti's resolve stiffened and, although Alessandro Diamanti was unlucky not to see his free-kick find the net right on half-time, the Caribbean side will have been pleased with their efforts in the opening period.
Israel Blake Cantero's men should have levelled when centre-back Kevin Lafrance headed narrowly wide from a corner.
That scare prompted Prandelli into multiple changes, with Balotelli, Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Stephen El Shaarawy all thrown into the fray.
Marchisio soon followed them into the action, and it did not take long for the Juventus midfielder's introduction to have the desired impact as he slotted home after El Shaarawy's close-range shot had been saved by Montrevil following good work from Balotelli.
Italy took their foot off the gas following that strike, but the game turned six minutes from the end of normal time when Davide Astori fouled Jean-Eudes Maurice inside the area, allowing defender Saurel to step up and convert from twelve yards.
A slender defeat would have represented a good result for Haiti, but they secured one of the more famous moments in their history when Peguero latched on to a long ball over the top from Mechack Jerome to send a left-footed finish into the bottom corner and seal an unlikely draw.