Italy’s Daniele De Rossi scored a late penalty to earn a 1-1 home draw againstSpain in their World Cup qualifier, sparing his goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s blushes after the veteran had gifted the visitors the lead.
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Buffon rushed out of his area as Vitolo broke clear but completely mistimed his tackle, allowing the forward to go round him and put the ball into an empty net in the 55th minute.
Italy, who had been completely outplayed in the Group G match, fought back and equalised in the 82nd minute when Éder was fouled by Sergio Ramos and De Rossi scored the spot-kick.
The Spain forward Diego Costa was lucky not to be sent off after the break. Having already been booked in the first half, he hoofed away the ball in disgust after being flagged offside but escaped a booking and was immediately substituted.
The result left both teams with four points from two games behind Albania, who have six points after their 2-0 away win over Liechtenstein, courtesy of a Peter Jehle own goal and a Bekim Balaj goal.
Israel won 2-1 in Macedonia, although Macedonia had a penalty saved in injury time after Eitan Tibi was sent off for a foul. Tomer Hemed and Tal Ben-Haim put Israel 2-0 up before Ilja Nestorovski pulled a goal back.
Mario Mandzukic scored a hat-trick as Croatia turned on the style to thump Fifa new boys Kosovo 6-0 in Shkodra, Albania in Group I.
The Juventus forward struck in the sixth, 24th and 35th minutes to take his international goal tally to 27. The other goals came from Matej Mitrovic in the 68th minute, Ivan Perisic after 83 and Nikola Kalinic in stoppage time.
It was the first “home” qualifier for Kosovo since they were admitted as a member of world football’s ruling body, Fifa, and European equivalent, Uefa, in May.
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Croatia, who have four points from two games, lead Iceland, who have the same number of points, at the top of the table. Ukraine are third on two points afterTurkey clawed their way back from two goals down against them to salvage a 2-2 home draw with a late penalty from Hakan Calhanoglu.
Andriy Yarmolenko put the visitors ahead in the 24th minute with a penalty after Omer Toprak brought down Artem Kravets and two minutes later Kravets doubled their lead when he was played in by Yarmolenko after springing the offside trap.
Ozan Tufan pulled a goal back for the hosts just before the break with a header in a crowded area from a corner by Calhanoglu, who equalised in the 81st minute with a penalty after Taras Stepanenko had pulled Cenk Tosun’s shirt.
The Turkey coach, Fatih Terim, controversially left Barcelona’s in-form midfielder Arda Turan, Burak Yilmaz of Beijing Guoan and Galatasaray’s Selcuk Inan out of his squad after the country’s poor Euro 2016 campaign when they went out at the group stage.
The Euro 2016 quarter-finalists Iceland struck twice in a thrilling last six-minute spell to secure a stunning 3-2 home victory over Finland.
Alfred Finnbogason equalised after 90 minutes before Gylfi Sigurdsson bundled in the winner in the sixth minute of added time.
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Seamus Coleman scored his first international goal to give Ireland a vital victory, while Wales drew in Austria and Spain were held by Italy
Two of Iceland’s goals came from corners and from another they won a penalty for handball but Sigurdsson missed it, firing against the crossbar in the 51st minute. Sigurdsson hit a post with another shot a few minutes later and the hosts looked like having a miserable night as goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky made a string of good saves.
Finland were inspired in the first half by attacking midfielder Robin Lod of Panathinaikos. Lod was involved in the buildup for his side’s first goal, a header by Teemu Pukki from Kari Arkivuo’s cross. He then scored the second himself with a powerful left-foot shot in the 39th minute after Iceland had levelled through Kari Arnason.
In Group D, Serbia won 3-0 in Moldova with goals from Filip Kostic, Branislav Ivanovic and Dusan Tadic. Serbia are second behind Wales, who drew 2-2 with Austria, while the Republic of Ireland secured a 1-0 win over Georgia..
It was Slavoljub Muslin’s first competitive win as Serbia coach, with his team having been held to a 2-2 home draw by Ireland on his debut. “The result will have restored the confidence that was lost after previous failures but there is no reason whatsoever to get carried away,” said the 63-year-old.