Giuseppe Rossi scored twice as Italy laboured to beat the United States who played for nearly an hour with 10 men in a lively Confederations Cup game.
Ricardo Clark saw red for hacking down Gennaro Gattuso before Landon Donovan scored the opener from the spot after Giorgio Chiellini fouled Jozy Altidore.
Rossi fired in the equaliser from 30 yards before Daniele De Rossi stretched the lead with another long-range shot.
Charlie Davies almost nodded in for the US before Rossi cracked in the third.
Italy, making their Confederations Cup debut, began without injured skipper Fabio Cannavaro but included De Rossi, sent off when the teams met in the 2006 World Cup, as well as midfielder Gattuso, returning after a five-month absence.
The Americans looked far the brighter in possession during the opening 20 minutes as coach Bob Bradley's son Michael pulled the strings impressively in the midfield.
But the world champions wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead when the unmarked Nicola Legrottaglie headed wide of the right post from only 10 yards.
Just before the half hour the US were equally wasteful, with Bradley and Altidore both fluffing shots from good positions.
Their team's cause was made all the harder when midfielder Clark saw red after clattering into Gattuso with a knee-high challenge.
The US almost paid the price immediately with Jonathan Bornstein turning the ball into his own net, but Mauro Camoranesi was flagged offside.
But five minutes before half-time Italy were given a real jolt when the referee pointed to the spot after Chiellini booted wildly at and wrestled down the lively Altidore.
Donovan gave Gianluigi Buffon no chance as he slotted home his 40th international goal to hand his country a well-deserved lead at the interval.
Italy coach Marcello Lippi's introduction of the American-born Rossi just before the hour proved a masterstroke.
The former Manchester United striker, with his first touch after coming off the bench, stole possession on the half-way line and curled in a left-foot stunner from 30 yards with the ball still rising past keeper Tim Howard when it hit the net.
It was as undeserved as it was spectacular.
With their tails up and taking advantage of the tiring American legs, Italy were looking the more likely winners with Rossi and Andrea Pirlo both going close.
And as the 10 men of the US retreated, Italy's second goal came as no surprise and it was another stunning long-range effort - this time from De Rossi.
The Roma midfielder was given the space to roam towards goal and his fierce dipping shot flew past the bemused Howard.
Davies went close to an equaliser with a wasted header in the dying seconds, but Pirlo broke away down the left to set up Rossi, who half-volleyed in another cracker to secure the win.
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