World Cup qualifying

Balotelli brace helps Italy stymie Malta

March 27, 2013
By ESPN.com news services
Mario Balotelli scored twice as Italy overcame a shaky start to beat Malta 2-0 on Tuesday, extending the Azzurri's lead at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

Balotelli put Italy ahead with a penalty after seven minutes at Ta'Qali National Stadium and doubled the lead in the 45th, taking his tally to 10 goals in nine matches this year for club and country.

Balotelli also scored the equalizer in a comeback 2-2 draw with Brazil in a friendly last week, and he has seven ...

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