A stoppage-time Alberto Aquilani strike cancelled out Nicklas Bendtner’s double to rescue a point for Italy in this evening’s 2-2 World Cup qualifier draw with Denmark in Copenhagen.
With qualification to this summer’s finals in Brazil already in the bag following September’s 2-1 triumph over Czech Republic at Juventus Stadium, Cesare Prandelli’s men went into the encounter looking to increase their seven-point supremacy over second-placed Group B rivals Bulgaria.
All appeared to be going according to plan when Southampton frontman Pablo Osvaldo cut inside before curling a fine right-footed strike beyond Stephan Andersen on 28 minutes.
Yet Prandelli was forced to rethink his half time instructions when Bendtner, who spent last season on loan with the Bianconeri, stooped to net an equaliser with 45 minutes on the clock.
After a significant spell of home pressure after the break, the Danish forward doubled his tally 11 minutes from time, climbing in the box to bring a vociferous home crowd to their feet.
But another former Juventus player, Alberto Aquilani, would have the final say in the dying seconds, diverting Osvaldo’s shot past Andersen to leave both sides with a share of the spoils.
Gigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini featured for the entire encounter, while Claudio Marchisio was replaced by Aquilani with little over 20 minutes remaining. Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Pirlo were unused substitutes.
Italy will wrap up their World Cup qualification campaign when they host Armenia at Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night.