Euro 2008 qualifier - November 17, 2007
Scotland 1 - 2 Italy
Toni 2 (I), Ferguson 65 (S), Panucci 91 (I)
Luca Toni and Christian Panucci earned Italy's dramatic first ever victory in Scotland to qualify for Euro 2008!
This was Italy's fourth visit to Scottish soil and they had never won, managing just two draws and a defeat. The first encounter was a 1-0 result on November 9, 1965, followed by a 0-0 in November 1992 and a 1-1 on September 3, 2005.
Group B hung in the balance in Glasgow, as a win would automatically qualify Scotland, while defeat would see Italy and France through to Euro 2008. A draw would put the Azzurri in the driving seat ahead of their final game against the Faroe Islands on Wednesday, while Scotland would have to hope Ukraine beat France.
Donadoni picked a 4-3-3 system with Mauro Camoranesi and Antonio Di Natale flanking Luca Toni, while Christian Panucci was chosen ahead of Massimo Oddo at right-back. The Scots opted for a solid midfield and just James McFadden upfront.
There was driving rain over Glasgow as Italy debuted their new white away strip. The team wore black armbands in honour of Gabriele Sandri, the Lazio fan accidentally shot dead by police last week.
The Azzurri could not have asked for a better start! After 69 seconds Antonio Di Natale carried on a Gianluca Zambrotta throw-in for Luca Toni to fire into the near top corner from six yards with the outside of his right foot. Toni netted both goals in the 2-0 home win earlier in Group B and marked his card again.
Moments later it should've been 2-0, as Toni held up the ball and crossed back for the unmarked Mauro Camoranesi to blast over the bar. It was a shock opening for the Scots, who had a 100 per cent record on home turf.
Fabio Cannavaro celebrated his 112th cap, matching the record set by Dino Zoff. Toni pounced on a misplaced Stephen McManus clearance and his angled drive thumped the side-netting thanks to a Craig Gordon fingertip save.
Scotland's first chance came after 15 minutes, as expected, from a set-piece. A free header was charged down and the follow-up from Lee McCulloch deflected wide off Zambrotta's arm, but it was held tight to his torso and the referee waved away penalty appeals.
Gigi Buffon punched out another corner and Barry Ferguson drilled over from the edge of the area. Italy were struggling from set plays and another corner found Alan Hutton unmarked for a free header that skimmed the upright.
A free kick was cleared poorly and Gigi Buffon got down well to smother a weak Barry Ferguson finish.
Italy hit the back of the net for a second time, but it was disallowed for an incorrect offside position. Toni, Camoranesi and Di Natale combined as a series of ricochets finally saw Di Natale blast in from six yards, but the linesman disallowed the goal for offside. Replays show the Udinese star was kept in play by the Scottish defence when Gordon parried Massimo Ambrosini's effort into his path.
Andrea Pirlo's free kick came out to Zambrotta whose shot was accidentally charged down by one of his teammates in white, while Camoranesi mistimed a counter-attack pass for Gennaro Gattuso and there was a brief scuffle between Toni and David Weir.
Di Natale's clearance almost turned into an assist for McFadden, but Andrea Barzagli perfectly timed a sliding tackle to cut him off when clear on goal.
Scotland were about to equalise in the final seconds of the first half. Another Ferguson corner kick found Hutton for a free header that looped over Buffon, but Pirlo got a goalline clearance at the far post to send Italy into the break 1-0 up.
The Azzurri threatened after the restart, as Gattuso got away down the right twice in the opening minutes, but Di Natale's volley was charged down by a defensive body.
Pirlo's timid free kick was easily gathered, but there was danger when Panucci floated a ball over the top and Zambrotta's cross turned into a looping finish palmed away by Gordon.
It had stopped raining, but the pitch was still extremely slippery and players from both sides had trouble keeping their footing. A Scots counter from Hutton earned a free kick from Zambrotta on the edge of the box. McFadden's effort took a double deflection and although Buffon managed to parry the first shot from McCulloch, he could do nothing on the follow-up. However, replays suggest Ferguson was offside and the incorrect decision was made by the same linesman who ruled out Italy's goal in the first half.
Donadoni threw on Vincenzo Iaquinta for Di Natale. Buffon rushed out to close down McFadden, getting his hat knocked off but avoiding a potentially dangerous collision. Kenny Miller replaced Scott Brown.
Pirlo's long-range free kick bounced just in front of Gordon, but went wide, while McFadden drilled wide at the end of a good Scottish team move. Gattuso was left with a bloody nose and went off for treatment. During this spell Scotland nearly scored on the counter, as McFadden incredibly fired wide of an open goal from seven yards as he came sliding in at the back post.
Giorgio Chiellini replaced the tired Camoranesi as the Scots poured forward in the final minutes of their qualifying campaign. Daniele De Rossi came on for Gattuso and immediately won back an important ball in midfield to spark Toni's run. The Bayern Munich star earned a free kick and from Pirlo's set-piece Panucci's diving header at the back post was inches wide of the target, as the Roma defender clattered into the upright.
Chiellini's first touch let him down in front of goal, but he earned a free kick near the corner flag. Pirlo chipped up the ball for Panucci's splendid looping header across the face of goal to beat Gordon in the final minute!
It was almost 3-1, as Iaquinta cut back for Chiellini's strike that Gordon palmed out from under the crossbar.
Scotland: Gordon; Hutton, Weir, McManus, Naysmith; Hartley; Brown (Miller 74), Ferguson, Fletcher, McCulloch (Boyd 92); McFadden
Italy: Buffon; Panucci, Cannavaro, Barzagli, Zambrotta; Pirlo, Gattuso (De Rossi 86), Ambrosini; Camoranesi (Chiellini 83), Toni, Di Natale (Iaquinta 67)
Ref: Mejuto Gonzalez (Spa)