Italy labors to 3-1 win in Armenia in qualifiers

AP, Friday 12 Oct 2012

Italy beat Armenia 3-1 in the World Cup qualifiers Group B on Friday

taly's Pablo Osvaldo celebrates with teammate Daniele De Rossi after scoring a goal against Armenia during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Yerevan (Photo: REUTERS)

Italy veteran Andrea Pirlo scored one goal and created another as the Azzurri labored to a 3-1 win over Armenia in World Cup qualifying Friday.

Pirlo fired Italy ahead in the 11th minute from the penalty spot following Hrayr Mkoyan's handball. But Armenia leveled in the 28th through Shakhtar Donetsk's impressive Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Daniele De Rossi headed Italy back in front shortly after the hour mark before Pablo Osvaldo sealed the result with his third goal in as many qualifiers.

It is Italy's 33rd match without defeat in World Cup and European Championship qualifying matches.

Italy was without Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, who - although initially included in the starting lineup Thursday - had not recovered from flu in time. He was replaced by Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco.

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