- Italy were held to a draw by Spain in their 2018 World Cup qualifying Group G encounter in Turin
- Vitolo broke the deadlock after a rare error of judgement from Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon
- Daniele de Rossi equalised from the penalty spot after Eder was brought down by Sergio Ramos
In the build-up to the game 38-year-old Buffon had joked that his ‘sell-by date’ was drawing ever closer when asked about fellow veteran Iker Casillas’ absence from the Spain team.
International retirement moved a step nearer after he came out of his area to meet Spain forward Vitolo only to then kick fresh air and allow the Sevilla winger to side foot into an empty net having been put through by Sergi Busquets.
Italy midfielder Daniele de Rossi celebrates after snatching a late equaliser from the penalty spot in the 1-1 draw
The veteran midfielder beat Spain No 1 David de Gea from the spot after Sergio Ramos had brought down Eder in the box
Vitolo celebrates opening the scoring for Spain with a composed finish in the second half
The Sevilla striker took advantage of a rare mistake by Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon to break the deadlock
Spain could easily have been reduced to 10 men in the second half when Diego Costa flirted with his first red card in a Spain shirt. Twice he put his hands on the face of Leonardo Bonucci in the first period and was yellow-carded for the second offence. And when he kicked the ball out of play after the whistle he should have been shown his second yellow.
Referee Felix Brych let him off and he was immediately taken off by Spain coach Julen Lopetegui with the Juventus stadium furious he had not been dismissed.
The referee was not so kind to Spain eight minutes from time when Ramos lunged at Eder allowing De Rossi to beat David de Gea from the spot.
Spain will rue the two dropped points and an injury to Jordi Alba after just 21 minutes that saw him hobble off, potentially adding to Barcelona’s injury problems ahead of the visit of Manchester City.
Spain had dominated the first half with 73 per cent possession and all six of the chances on goal. But for all the ball they had there was no way of getting at Buffon.
Costa stretched but just failed to get on the end of a Vitolo through ball and Gerard Pique sent a header just wide from an Andres Iniesta cross but for all of the attractive build-up play the end product was missing.
Most of the midfield magic came from David Silva. The travelling support in the corner of the Juventus Stadium bowed to him and chanted his name as he approached them to take a corner. He went on several mazy runs weaving a path through the massed blue ranks.
Iniesta also drifted away from Italian defenders with the same ease but whenever one Italian defender was beaten there was always another one to arrive and protect the home goal.
Spain's legendary midfielder Andres Iniesta (right) bewitches Italy's former Southampton striker Graziano Pelle
Italy midfielder De Rossi (left) clutches the back of his leg after being caught by Diego Costa of Spain
The Chelsea firebrand lunges in as Italy goalkeeper Buffon (left) scoops the ball away from danger
Manchester City playmaker David Silva (centre) uses his magical feet to lose three Italy defenders
Italy's midfielder Mattia De Sciglio (left) sends Spain and Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba flying
Gerard Pique (right) came close to opening the scoring in the first half but saw his header flash wide
New Italy manager Gian Piero Ventura gestures from the sidelines during the Group G clash
Some of Italy’s football going forward was woeful but one long punt from Buffon did reach Eder and he might have gone clear had Alba not hooked the ball clear. Alba’s pace down the left was identified before the game as the secret weapon Spain would use to get around the back of Italy’s back five but on 21 minutes he went down after slipping off the ball and only got up to hobble off and be replaced by Nacho. It was bad news for Spain and it may yet be bad news for Barcelona with Manchester City on the horizon.
Nacho is a centre-back by trade but he made one darting run down the left to win a corner as Spain kept up their pressure. Italy were content to make the game physical and Costa never needs an invite to a dust-up.
He had already laid hands on Bonucci in the first five minutes making harmless but annoying contact with the defender’s face. The two could easily have been team-mates this season had Antonio Conte only managed to persuade the defender to move to London.
Alba receives medical attention on the pitch before an injury forces him to make way for Nacho
Italy were also forced to make an earlier than expected change when Riccardo Montolivo went down injured
Sergio Busquets of Spain and Italy's Marco Parolo compete in an aerial battle during a goalless first half
Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, who was linked with Manchester City, reacts after being palmed off by Costa
Sweat sprays off the forehead of Spain captain Sergio Ramos as he heads the ball away from danger
Spain forward Vitola, who started ahead of the likes of Alvaro Morata, tries his luck from an acute angle
Italy keeper Buffon comes out to close down Vitolo but misses the ball with a lunging tackle outside his area
Vitolo wheels away in celebration after slotting home into an open net to hand Spain the lead
Silva and Costa embrace Vitolo as Nacho joins the celebrations after the opening goal on 55minutes
Costa went hand to face again just before half time and this time referee Felix Brych decided to take his name. He had already booked Vitolo for kicking out and Sergio Busquets for a late challenge. Italy were staying out of the referee’s book but also out of the Spain area for the most part.
They improved after the break after Buffon dropped the most uncustomary of clangers to allow Vitolo to give Spain the lead and when referee Brych let Costa off Spain sensed they were home and dry.
But Italy showed plenty of spirit late on and when Pelle went down in the area under a challenge from Sergio Ramos it was left to De Rossi to roll the spot-kick past David De Gea for the draw.
It could have been worse for the Spanish when the ball was flashed across the face of De Gea’s goal and was so nearly turned in by substitute Ciro Immobile. They also had the ball in the back of the net when Andrea Belotti scored but from an offside position.
Spain will be content with the point once the disappointment of that late penalty subsides. Italy will satisfy themselves that they have still never lost a home World Cup qualifier and that they had saved Buffon’s blushes.
Spain captain Ramos was guilty of conceding a late penalty to Italy after bringing down Eder in the box
De Rossi does his best Marco Tardelli impression after netting from the spot to earn a 1-1 draw
Italy substitute Ciro Immobile (left) holds his head in his hands after missing a glaring chance to score an unlikely winner