Italy beat Uruguay to clinch third

RIO DE JANEIRO - Italy beat Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out in Salvador Sunday in the match for third place at football's Confederations Cup.

The teams had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes and extra-time.

Italy won the shoot-out 3-2 after keeper Gianluigi Buffon saved penalties from Diego Forlan, who had also missed from the spot against Brazil, and Walter Gargano.

Edinson Cavani had levelled twice for Uruguay to take the match to extra-time, and the Azzurri held out after Riccardo Montolivo was sent off for a second booking with 10 minutes of the extra period remaining.

It was the second 120 minutes for Italy in 72 hours after losing to Spain, but this time Cesare Prandelli's side prevailed in the shoot-out.

Cagliari defender David Astori, playing for the first time at the tournament, scored in the 24th minute to put Italy ahead.

Cavani side-footed first time to level on the 58th minute from a pass by Gargano.

Forlan was foiled twice by Buffon in goal before Italy regained the lead when Alessandro Diamanti curled a free-kick over the wall in the 73rd minute.

Napoli striker Cavani, named man of the match, emulated that feat five minutes later with a free-kick of his own under the bar.

Astori was one of five Italy changes from the side that lost on penalties in the semifinal to Spain.

Mattia De Sciglio, Stephan El Shaarawy, Montolivo and Diamanti also came in, while Claudio Marchisio, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Andrea Pirlo and Emanuele Giaccherini were on the bench.

Astori mopped up with the ball almost over the line after Diamanti's free-kick on the right hit the far post before bouncing off the shoulder of keeper Fernando Muslera.

Uruguay were stronger after the break, and Gargano, who replaced Alvaro Gonzalez as the only change made by coach Oscar Tabarez, surged forward and found Cavani with a reverse pass for the striker to slot the ball past Buffon.

Diamanti showed that Italy not only have Pirlo as a free-kick specialist when the Bologna midfielder curled the ball in from just outside the box, but Cavani did the same at the other end to take the match to extra-time.

Hosts Brazil were playing Spain in the final later at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. - Reuters

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