Gianluigi Buffon leads Italy to victory in 1,000th career came
Italy 2 - 0 Albania

Gianluigi Buffon leads Italy to victory in 1,000th career came

Italy beat Albania 2-0 in World Cup qualifying as goalkeeper GIanluigi Buffon made his 1,000th professional appearance.

Daniele De Rossi's 12th-minute penalty and Ciro Immobile's second-half header secured a deserved, if unimpressive, win in Palermo.

The result sees Italy and Spain still level on points at the top of Group G after the latter beat Israel 4-1.

Sokol Cikalleshi and Odise Roshi failed in the early stages to test Buffon, winning his 168th international cap to go with 612 games for Juventus and 220 for his former club Parma, before Italy took the lead.

Just 10 minutes in, Andrea Belotti was bundled over by Migjen Basha as he attacked Antonio Candreva's free kick.

Ledian Memushaj was booked for his protests and, after a long delay while two flares thrown into the penalty area were extinguished and Memushaj was removed from the box, De Rossi assuredly sent Thomas Strakosha the wrong way.

Buffon saved from Roshi, while at the other end, Bellotti and De Rossi sent headers off target. Both missed with further attempts and the half ended with Roshi blazing over.

The familiar pattern continued into the second half as De Rossi headed Candreva's corner over the bar.

Candreva twice drew saves from Strakosha, either side of an ambitious Andrea Barzagli effort over the bar, and Belotti missed the target from another corner as the Azzurri struggled to put the game to bed.

Davide Zappacosta and Lorenzo Insigne were similarly wasteful, the latter with a free-kick into the wall, but finally Italy doubled their winning margin when Zappacosta crossed from the right and Immobile headed home.

Albania belatedly pushed for a way back into the game, but Basha and Burim Kukelj shot wide.

De Rossi headed Insigne's corner wide and Cikalleshi also missed the target as Buffon finished with the 426th clean sheet of his distinguished career.

Betting on WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFIERS? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more

Related news

Ousmane Dembele leads 10-man France to friendly win over England

Ousmane Dembele leads 10-man France to friendly win over England

Ousmane Dembele scored his first international goal to give 10-man France a 3-2 win over England in a friendly in Paris on Tuesday night.

Argentina put six goals past Singapore in friendly romp

Argentina put six goals past Singapore in friendly romp

Argentina strolled to a 6-0 win over Singapore at the National Stadium in a one-sided international friendly on Tuesday evening.

Diego Souza scores brace as Brazil rout Australia

Diego Souza scores brace as Brazil rout Australia

Diego Souza scored after just 11 seconds as Brazil beat Australia 4-0 in their friendly at the MCG.

Italy overcome slow start to thrash minnows Liechtenstein

Italy overcome slow start to thrash minnows Liechtenstein

Italy were less than totally convincing throughout their 5-0 victory over minnows Liechtenstein in Udine but the three points keep them on a positive path as they strive to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

David Silva and Diego Costa on target as Spain beat plucky Macedonia

David Silva and Diego Costa on target as Spain beat plucky Macedonia

David Silva and Diego Costa were on target but Spain made hard work of seeing off Macedonia in Skopje.

Kane rescues England in extraordinary finale against Scotland

Kane rescues England in extraordinary finale against Scotland

Captain Harry Kane earned England a point in stoppage time after a stunning late Leigh Griffiths double looked like giving Scotland a memorable victory at Hampden Park.

Record-breaking birthday boy Sneijder scores in Dutch win

Record-breaking birthday boy Sneijder scores in Dutch win

Netherlands ran out 5-0 winners against Luxembourg in Dick Advocaat's first game back as manager of the Dutch.

Late Hugo Lloris howler hands France shock defeat in Sweden

Late Hugo Lloris howler hands France shock defeat in Sweden

Ola Toivonen's stoppage-time strike from the halfway line earned Sweden a dramatic 2-1 win over France in Group A of World Cup qualifying on Friday.

Portugal cruise with Cristiano Ronaldo brace

Portugal cruise with Cristiano Ronaldo brace

Cristiano Ronaldo provided two goals and an assist to lead Portugal to a 3-0 win over Latvia in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.

RELATED NEWS

Ousmane Dembele leads 10-man France to friendly win over England
France 3 - 2 England

Ousmane Dembele leads 10-man France to friendly win over England

Ousmane Dembele scored his first international goal to give 10-man France a 3-2 win over England in a friendly in Paris on Tuesday night.

Argentina put six goals past Singapore in friendly romp
Singapore 0 - 6 Argentina

Argentina put six goals past Singapore in friendly romp

Argentina strolled to a 6-0 win over Singapore at the National Stadium in a one-sided international friendly on Tuesday evening.

Diego Souza scores brace as Brazil rout Australia
Australia 0 - 4 Brazil

Diego Souza scores brace as Brazil rout Australia

Diego Souza scored after just 11 seconds as Brazil beat Australia 4-0 in their friendly at the MCG.

Italy overcome slow start to thrash minnows Liechtenstein
Italy 5 - 0 Liechtenstein

Italy overcome slow start to thrash minnows Liechtenstein

Italy were less than totally convincing throughout their 5-0 victory over minnows Liechtenstein in Udine but the three points keep them on a positive path as they strive to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

David Silva and Diego Costa on target as Spain beat plucky Macedonia
Macedonia 1 - 2 Spain

David Silva and Diego Costa on target as Spain beat plucky Macedonia

David Silva and Diego Costa were on target but Spain made hard work of seeing off Macedonia in Skopje.

Kane rescues England in extraordinary finale against Scotland
Scotland 2 - 2 England

Kane rescues England in extraordinary finale against Scotland

Captain Harry Kane earned England a point in stoppage time after a stunning late Leigh Griffiths double looked like giving Scotland a memorable victory at Hampden Park.

Record-breaking birthday boy Sneijder scores in Dutch win
Netherlands 5-0 Luxembourg

Record-breaking birthday boy Sneijder scores in Dutch win

Netherlands ran out 5-0 winners against Luxembourg in Dick Advocaat's first game back as manager of the Dutch.

Late Hugo Lloris howler hands France shock defeat in Sweden
Sweden 2 - 1 France

Late Hugo Lloris howler hands France shock defeat in Sweden

Ola Toivonen's stoppage-time strike from the halfway line earned Sweden a dramatic 2-1 win over France in Group A of World Cup qualifying on Friday.

Portugal cruise with Cristiano Ronaldo brace
Portugal 3-0 Latvia

Portugal cruise with Cristiano Ronaldo brace

Cristiano Ronaldo provided two goals and an assist to lead Portugal to a 3-0 win over Latvia in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.