Haiti struck twice in the final five minutes to earn a shocking 2-2 draw with Italy in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Emanuele Giaccherini put the Azzurri ahead inside the opening minute, but they failed dismally to build on their early advantage and only managed to double their lead, through Claudio Marchisio, after the introduction of several first-team regulars in the second half.
Haiti pulled a goal back when Olrish Saurel slotted home a penalty and it claimed a dramatic - but wholly deserved - equalizer with just 30 seconds of injury time remaining when Jean-Phillippe Peguero fired home.
Les Grenadiers had made a slow start in their 2-1 friendly defeat to Spain in Florida at the weekend, conceding twice inside the opening 19 minutes, but Israel Blake Cantero’s men appeared to be in even worse trouble after falling a goal down to the Azzurri with just 20 seconds gone.
Antonio Candreva was released into space down the left-hand side, and the Lazio winger hooked the ball into the middle of the area for the onrushing Giaccherini, who controlled the cross instantaneously before immediately firing past a helpless Frandy Montrevil.
The Haiti shot-stopper denied Italy a second goal just 10 minutes later when he flung himself across his goal to keep out a fine strike from distance from Candreva. The Biancocelesti ace, the star performer in an opening quarter dominated by the Azzurri, went close again moments later, after a jinking run into the area, but Haitian spirits were lifted by a sweet strike from Jeff Louis that stung the palms of Salvatore Sirigu in the Italy goal.
Cesare Prandelli’s men continued to look like scoring every time they got near the Haiti area, though, and Alberto Gilardino actually had the ball in the net on the half-hour mark, but the resurgent Bologna striker was correctly flagged for offside.
The veteran forward then struck the post in the 43rd minute, after failing to make sufficient contact with a low cross from fullback Mattia De Sciglio, before Rossoblu teammate Alessandro Diamanti hit the side-netting with a curling free kick right on halftime.
A minute after the restart, Gilardino shot straight at Montrevil, after being slipped into space on the edge of the box by Giaccherini, but it was Haiti that looked the more likely scorer immediately after the restart, with an unmarked Kevin Lafrance headed wastefully wide from a corner.
Therefore, it was no surprise that Prandelli decided during this rather nervy spell for his side to bring on some of the big guns, namely Mario Balotelli, Daniele De Rossi and Riccardo Montolivo.
Balotelli teamed up with two later arrivals, Stephan El Shaarawy and Marchisio, to make it 2-0 with 17 minutes remaining.
The volatile striker played a neat one-two with El Shaarawy before pulling the ball back for his AC Milan colleague. The 20-year-old saw his shot well saved by Montrevil, but Marchisio was on hand to tap in the rebound.
It appeared to be game over for Haiti, but the underdogs set up a frantic finale when Saurel slotted home from the spot, after Davide Astori had felled Jean-Eudes Maurice in the area.
Italy looked to have survived the Haitian onslaught, but with just seconds to go, Peguero latched onto a long ball over the top, held off Leonardo Bonucci and drove the ball past Federico Marchetti to earn a famous draw for the CONCACAF nation.
- Sports & Recreation
- Claudio Marchisio
- Emanuele Giaccherini
- Olrish Saurel