RIO DE JANEIRO (Sporting Alert) — Mario Balotelli scored a second half winner for Italy to beat Mexico 2-1 in their FIFA Confederations Cup Group A clash at Estadio do Maracana on Sunday.
Italy Beat Mexico 2-1 – Video Highlights of Pirlo Free Kick
Balotelli found the winning goal for the EURO 2012 runner up when he overpowered his markers inside the penalty area and then fired past Jose de Jesus Corona, following an over the top pass into the area by Emanuele Giaccherini.
The AC Milan striker was booked for taking off his shirt to celebrate his goal, something that didn’t sit well with his coach Cesare Prandelli
“Mario has to stop showing off his muscles,” Prandelli said. “The yellow cards count. Anyhow, well done.”
Earlier, midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo celebrated his 100th cap for Italy with a brilliant goal from a free-kick in the 26th minute and he applauded for the trademark strike that came in his landmark game.
“I was dreaming of a free-kick goal,” Pirlo said. “It was important to win the first match and now we have three days to recuperate.
“It’s nice to be applauded in a legendary stadium like this.”
However, North America champions Mexico pulled level through Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, who beat Gianluigi Buffon when sending the Italian veteran keeper the wrong from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.
Mexico v Italy Teams
Mexico: Corona, Rodriguez, Salcido, Flores, Moreno, Torrado, Aquino, Zavala, Guardado, Giovani, Hernandez
Subs: Ochoa, Reyes, Molina, Barrera, Reyna, De Nigris, Meza, Herrera, Jimenez, Torres, Mier, Talavera
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, De Sciglio, Abate, Barzagli, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Pirlo, Giaccherini, Balotelli
Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Astori, Candreva, Aquilani, Giovinco, Gilardino, El Shaarawy, Cerci, Bonucci, Diamanti, Marchetti
Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)