Chiellini header sinks Swedes
Marcello Lippi's experimental line-up paid off as Giorgio Chiellini's header earned Italy a 1-0 win over Sweden.
Last Updated: 18/11/09 10:27pm
Italy coach Marcello Lippi's experimental line-up paid off as Giorgio Chiellini's header earned a 1-0 win over Sweden.
Lippi used the World Cup holders' friendly in Cesena to try out some of his fringe players and he was rewarded with a narrow success.
Juventus defender Chiellini scored the only goal of the night as headed a corner beyond Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
Marco Marchionni, Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Di Natale formed the Azzurri's attacking line as Lippi used the game to evaluate several candidates to complete his World Cup squad.
For Sweden, it was the first match for newly-installed head coach Erik Hamren, who had to do without his team's best-known player Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Barcelona.
The visitors had the first scoring opportunity early on with Tobias Hysen beating the offside trap before firing a right-footed strike which was met by a fine clearance from Italy goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.
Italy reacted with a Chiellini header from Antonio Candreva's free-kick, which forced Isaksson to knock out for a corner.
The Azzurri missed a golden chance to take the lead in the 20th minute.
Di Natale latched onto Cristian Maggio's cross from the right and volleyed from 30 yards to force Isaksson to fully stretch in order to clear.
The hosts broke the deadlock soon after. Chiellini got behind Cristian Maggio's corner-kick and his header beat Isaksson.
The Swedes could have equalised before half-time, but Anders Svensson's bullet strike from outside the area went just wide of the far post.
Lippi made three substitutions early in the second half and his players manufactured a good chance.
Pazzini got behind Marchionni's cross but his right-footed effort from the edge of the area went wide.
At the other end, Daniel Majstorovic should have pulled his team level in the 54th minute but his right-footed strike did not beat Marchetti.
Shortly after, Di Natale surged down the left flank before hitting a right-footed effort that went over the bar.
On the hour mark, substitute Giuseppe Rossi should have done better for Italy but his lob attempt went off target with only Isaksson to beat.
In the 67th minute, Olof Mellberg's header from a corner for Sweden went high.
With 10 minutes remaining, substitute Daniele Galloppa's free-kick went over the bar while soon after, Isaksson did well to come off his line and anticipate Rossi, who was ready to score.
Sweden could have restored parity deep in stoppage-time but Pontus Wernbloom's header from a corner was cleared by Marchetti as Italy held on for the win.