Friday October 10 2014
Pirlo on unusual Italy return

Andrea Pirlo found himself acting as a defender with Leonardo Bonucci the forward on his return to Italy duty.

The midfielder had said he was hanging up his Azzurri jersey after the World Cup in Brazil, but changed his mind and started tonight’s 2-1 victory over Azerbaijan.

“By now I am accustomed to being man-marked. It’s tough to play, but the important thing is that the team won,” he told Rai Sport.

“We knew Azerbaijan would clam up and it was dangerous when they equalised, as we had the chances to finish off the game earlier.”

At a certain stage in the first half, Bonucci had several shots on goal because he had effectively exchanged places with Pirlo.

It left the Juventus midfielder in the unusual position of making last-ditch tackles and he received a booking.

“We tried to change things up for a while, as I couldn’t get the ball, so Bonucci pushed forward and I went deeper to get the ball.

“I hope not to do that again, as I’m not great at tackling and I deserved that yellow card.”

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