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by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Emanuele Giaccherini slotted home the game-winning goal in the shootout as Italy claimed third place in the Confederation Cup with a 3-2 win over Uruguay after a 2-2 draw in regulation Sunday at Arena Fonte Nova.
After Giaccherini hit the go-ahead tally, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved Walter Gargano's weak attempt to seal the victory for the Italians.
Alberto Aquilani and Stephan El Shaarawy also scored in the penalty shootout while Davide Astori and Alessandro Diamanti found the back of the net in regulation for the Italians.
"We played a great first half, our best of this competition. In the second half we ran into a few problems, particularly physical ones, and that meant we suffered in what was a very even game," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said.
Prandelli added that the win puts the Italians' preparation for next year's World Cup on track.
Edinson Cavani scored twice in regulation and added another in the shootout while Luis Suarez accounted for Uruguay's fourth tally.
"Both sides proved that they could well have reached the final. Italy were better in the penalty shoot-out, you have to congratulate them for that," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said.
The Italians grabbed the lead in the 24th minute after Astori recovered a miss by Diamanti in front of an open net and scored the easiest goal of his life.
Cavani looked to have an equalizer in the 32nd minute but he was called for offside as first half ended with the Italians ahead.
In the 58th minute, Cavani calmly placed a perfect finish to the far post to tie the match at 1-1.
Diamanti scored a stunner in the 72nd minute from 20 yards out to put Italy ahead but Cavani retaliated just six minutes later to send the game into extra period.
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"Confederation Cup: Italy Edges Uruguay for Third Place "