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Toni proves the local hero

Saturday, 4 September 2004

By Paolo Menicucci at the Renzo Barbera stadium

[1] Daniele De Rossi and second-half substitute Luca Toni were on target as Italy came from behind to defeat Norway 2-1 and give Marcello Lippi victory in his first competitive game in charge.

Carew opener

[2] John Carew had got Norway off to a sensational start in the first minute of this 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 5 fixture. Magne Hoset was the creator, as his beautiful pass sent Carew through and the former AS Roma striker, now with Besiktas JK, beat Gianluigi Buffon with a precise low shot inside the far post.

Italy level

[3] The Azzurri reacted immediately and the Norway goalkeeper Espen Johnsen was forced to make a fine save to turn a spectacular volley from Fabrizio Miccoli behind for a corner. And in the fourth minute they drew level as De Rossi turned a Giuseppe Favalli effort past Johnsen with his right foot.

Fiore efforts

[4] Italy continued to attack and Johnsen had to produce another fine save to deny Fabrizio Miccoli's header from close range after a perfect curled cross from Stefano Fiore from the right. The Valencia CF midfield player tried his luck twice in less than one minute but his first shot was blocked by the Norwegian goalkeeper while the second went just wide.

Gattuso strikes woodwork

[5] Johnsen continued his personal duel with Miccoli when he dived once again to turn away a dangerous free-kick from the Italian forward. One minute later Italy were unlucky when Gennaro Gattuso's shot, deflected by Vidar Riseth, hit the post. One minute before half-time Johnsen was forced into another diving save to deny Gianluca Zambrotta.

Attacks continue

[6] Italy continued to attack in the second-half and Johnsen had to rush out to stop Miccoli's effort after 53 minutes. The Norwegian goalkeeper deflected wide a powerful shot by Fiore two minutes later, while another dangerous shot by Miccoli whistled wide.

Forward changes

[7] Lippi took off forwards Alberto Gilardino and Miccoli for Bernardo Corradi and Toni, but on 71 minutes Norway nearly pulled ahead again when Petter Rudi sent in a right-foot volley from close range only for Buffon to save well.

Toni winner

[8] It was Italy, however, who scored the winner eight minutes later through local hero Toni. The US Città di Palermo striker turned in a low cross from Zambrotta from the left giving the Azzurri three points ahead of their visit to Moldova on Wednesday. Norway will look to get off the mark at home to Belarus the same day.

Luca Toni laps up the applause