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De Rossi's late penalty helps Italy to hold Spain in WC qualifier after rare Buffon error

By The Wires

Italy maintained their unbeaten record in home World Cup qualifiers after Daniele De Rossi's late penalty rescued a draw for them against Spain.

The Azzuris did not have a single shot in a goalless first half that saw Gerard Pique waste its two best chances, first heading wide from six yards and then from the same distance straight at Buffon having been teed up by a Sergio Ramos nod back across goal.

When Spain did take the lead shortly after the break it owed more to a rare howler from Gianluigi Buffon than their build-up play. The goalkeeper came rushing out of goal to clear a through ball but instead connected with nothing but air and Vitolo was on hand to roll the ball into an empty net.

The Sevilla man should have had a second shortly after, too, but dragged a shot wide after finding himself one-on-one with Buffon.

Italy livened up in the final twenty minutes, with the arrivals of Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti off the bench providing the spark, and they got the equaliser eight minutes from time when Eder got in front of Sergio Ramos at a cross and was fouled by the defender to win a penalty.

De Rossi took the spot kick and sent David De Gea the wrong way to earn Italy a share of the spoils.