International friendly: Haiti battle back for 2-2 draw with Italy
Last Updated: 11/06/13 10:52pm
Mario Balotelli in action for Italy
Jean Phillipe Peguero fired a last-minute equaliser as Haiti scored twice in the last five minutes to draw 2-2 against Italy in their international friendly in Rio.
Emanuele Giaccherini had given Italy a 1-0 lead after just 14 seconds before Claudio Marchisio gave them a two-goal cushion midway through the second half.
However, Italy, who start their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign against Mexico on June 16, switched off in the closing minutes allowing Pascal Millien to pull one back from the penalty spot before Peguero scored a stoppage-time leveller.
The fixture, along with being a final warm-up game for Italy ahead of the Confederations Cup tournament, aimed to raise money for those affected by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The two sides had met just once before, in the 1974 World Cup, when Italy beat Haiti 3-1. The goal from Haiti's Emmanuel Sonan made him a national hero, and while the same might not be said for tonight's goalscorers, the Caribbean side fared much better against the four-time World Cup winners.
However, it looked like Italy were going to give Haiti a footballing lesson in the opening stages when Giaccherini fired them ahead with just 14 seconds on the clock.
The Juventus midfielder found the end of Mattia De Sciglio's cross from the left by-line to slot the ball past goalkeeper Frandy Montrevil as Cesare Prandelli's side got off to a perfect start.
Giaccherini almost added a second 10 minutes later but for Montrevil, who made a diving save, before Jean Alcenat cleared a testing corner from Alberto Aquilani.
Alessio Cerci forced a save from Montrevil on the half-hour mark following a succession of off-target shots from the Azzurri, as Italy took a slender lead into half-time.
After the break, Jean-Eudes Maurice had a shot blocked by Federico Marchetti as the second half grew into life, minutes before Marchisio added Italy's second from close range.
Italy then took their foot off the gas and Haiti were back in the game in the 85th minute after Davide Astori brought down Maurice in the area.
The striker stepped up to take the resulting penalty and blasted the ball past Italy keeper Salvatore Sirigu.
Haiti then seized the momentum and Peguero levelled the score in the second minute of stoppage time to draw the game, leaving Prandelli asking a few questions of his defence ahead of their forthcoming cup campaign.