Italy forward Mattia Destro celebrates after scoring during a Group B World Cup qualifying soccer match between Italy and Malta, in Modena (Photo: Reuters)
Roma striker Destro latched on to a smart Claudio Marchisio through ball after five minutes but Cesare Prandelli's side struggled to build on their fast start in a lacklustre first half that drew jeers from the crowd.
Napoli's highly-rated Lorenzo Insigne replaced the disappointing Alessandro Diamanti at the start of the second half and Italy showed more attacking intent but had to wait until the last minute for Peluso to head the second goal from an Andrea Pirlo corner.
Victory puts Italy joint top of Group B on four points with Bulgaria, who beat Armenia 1-0 in Sofia.
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