Confederations Cup: Spain beat Uruguay, Italy overcome Mexico

Recife/Rio de Janeiro, June 17 (IANS) First-half goals from Pedro and Roberto Soldado were enough to give Spain a 2-1 victory over Uruguay in their Group B opener here while Mario Balotelli struck a 77th-minute winner as Italy began their campaign with 2-1 victory over Mexico in the Confederations Cup.

At Arena Timbu in Recife Sunday, Pedro opened the scoring in the 19th minute at Arena Pernambuco when his long-range shot deflected in off Uruguay defender Diego Lugano, reports Xinhua.

Soldado then made it 2-0 following a defence-piercing Cesc Fabregras pass before Uruguay striker Luis Suarez fired in a 28-metre free-kick three minutes from time.

"Even though the scores don't show it, we dominated and should have won by a greater margin," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said after the match.

Earlier in the day at the Maracana in Rio, Mario Balotelli struck a 77th-minute winner as Italy began their Group A campaign with 2-1 victory over Mexico.

Balotelli ran onto Emanuele Giaccherini's delicate lob to slide the ball in between two defenders and goalkeeper Jose Corona.

In front of 70,000 fans at the Maracana, Balotelli ran onto Emanuele Giaccherini's delicate lob to slide the ball in between two defenders and goalkeeper Jose Corona.

Andrea Pirlo, in his 100th international appearance, scored Italy's first in the 27th minute by thumping a 25-meter free-kick that curled into the top-left corner.

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez equalized seven minutes later, coolly converting a penalty after Giovani dos Santos was brought down by Andrea Barzagli.

Italy dominated the early possession in front of more than 70,000 fans at the Maracana stadium.

Balotelli was the protagonist with three shots on goal in the first 10 minutes.

The AC Milan forward's deft chip that narrowly flew over the crossbar was followed by two firmly struck attempts that were kept out by Corona.

Mexico responded by threatening on the counterattack and Andres Guardado was unlucky not to put his side ahead when his fizzing drive ricocheted off the crossbar.

Italy continued to assert their authority in the second half with Pirlo and, in particular, Giaccherini causing problems for Mexico's defence with his pace and vision.

Second-half substitute Raul Jimenez had a chance to equalize in injury time but his low shot from the edge of the area was parried clear by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

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