2018 fifa worldcup

Another day, another save: Gianluigi Buffon takes Italy third

A Gianluigi Buffon saved three penalties as an under-strength Italy edged Uruguay 3-2 in a shootout Sunday to secure third place at the Confederations Cup following a 2-2 draw after extra time.

It was a measure of redemption for Italy after a loss to Spain, also in a shootout, in the semifinals.

Uruguay, meanwhile, has now lost seven of eight bronze-medal matches at the World Cup, Copa America and Confederations Cup, including a loss to Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

This shootout capped an entertaining match at the Arena Fonte Nova, where Alessandro Diamanti scored one goal and set up another for Italy and Edinson Cavani equalized twice for Uruguay.

Italy defender Davide Astori opened the scoring in the 24th minute after Diamanti’s free kick rattled the post and Cavani equalized for Uruguay in the 58th with an angled shot.

Diamanti restored Italy’s lead in the 73rd with another free kick that went in directly but not to be outdone Cavani drew Uruguay level again five minutes later with an equally splendid free kick of his own.

In the shootout, the 35-year-old Buffon set the tone by stopping the first shot in the shootout from Diego Forlan, then also saved from Martin Caceres before smothering Walter Gargano’s effort to end the game. Alberto Aquilani, Stephan El Shaarawy and Emanuele Giaccherini converted for Italy while Mattia De Sciglio’s shot was blocked by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Italy was without usual starters Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo and a handful of others and ended with 10 men after Riccardo Montolivo picked up his second yellow card in the 110th minute for a foul on Luis Suarez.

Uruguay was at full strength, featuring virtually the same lineup from its 2-1 semifinal loss to Brazil. With an added day of rest, Uruguay had its usual strike trio of Forlan, Suarez and Cavani in place.

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