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banner Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
Italy edge out South Africa
John Moshoeu
John Moshoeu tackled by Alessandro Tachinnardi
Italy 1-0 South Africa

Italy missed a penalty and squandered a host of chances as they struggled to a narrow victory over a battling South Africa in Perugia.

AS Roma striker Vicenzo Montella scored the winner in the 53rd minute with a spectacular lob past South African 'keeper Hans Vonk.

Vonk made decisive saves during the first half, saving a penalty by Filippo Inzaghi and deflecting a curling free kick by Perugia midfielder Fabio Liverani on to a post.

Fabio Liverani
Liverani: The first black player to represent Italy
Liverani, the first black player to represent Italy, made a much-applauded debut as coach Giovanni Trapattoni fielded some new players in the absence of key forwards Alessandro del Piero and Francesco Totti, and defender Alessandro Nesta.

The friendly with South Africa, the first ever match between the two teams, was intended to test players and tactics in advance of Italy's next World Cup qualifier against Georgia on 2 June.

Unbeaten Italy lead the Group 8 standings with 13 points in five matches, seven ahead of Romania.

Bartlett chance

Juventus striker Inzaghi earned and missed the penalty in the 24th minute, and missed two other gilt-edged first-half chances.

South Africa's first threat came after 30 minutes when John Moshoeu's shot was well saved by Francesco Toldo.

Vicenzo Montella was on target for the Azurri
Vicenzo Montella was on target for the Azurri
Charlton Athletic's Shaun Bartlett shot over the bar from close range five minutes later, wasting South Africa's best chance in the match at the Renato Curi stadium.

Montella, often relegated to the substitute's bench with Roma as understudy to the brilliant Argentinian striker Gabriel Batistuta, scored Italy's only goal with a beautiful lob from the edge of the area.

South African goalkeeper Vonk was the hero of a spirited effort by the visitors with excellent second-half saves from Enrico Chiesa and Damiano Tommasi.

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See also:

25 Apr 01 |  World Cup 2002
Van Nistelrooy's dream goal
25 Apr 01 |  Europe
Schmeichel signs off
26 Apr 01 |  World Cup 2002
Brazil booed as Peru make point
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