June 28, 2008 / 10:38 PM / 10 years ago

Italy snatch last gasp victory in Argentina

CORDOBA, Argentina (Reuters) - Italy grabbed a late try and conversion to squeeze past Argentina 13-12 on Saturday, handing the Pumas a second successive home defeat.

Bernardo Stortoni (L) of Argentina's Los Pumas tries to elude Italy's Santiago Dellape during their rugby union test match against Italy in Cordoba, northern Argentina June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Mauro Caceres

Replacement Leonardo Ghiraldini was judged to have scored in the 80th minute after a maul crossed the line, a decision hotly contested by Argentina who were playing their third and final home game of the year.

Rodrigo Roncero (C) of Argentina's Los Pumas is tackled by Italy's Mauro Bergamasco (bottom L) and Luke McLean (L) while teammate Marcelo Bosch follows the action during their rugby union test match in Cordoba, northern Argentina June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Mauro Caceres

Andrea Marcato then converted to give Italy their second win in 15 meetings with the Pumas.

Despite the dramatic finale, it was a generally disappointing, scrappy encounter.

Argentina had at one stage led 12-0 after Juan Hernandez booted two penalties in the opening six minutes followed by another two from Marcelo Bosch.

Los Pumas' Marcelo Bosch (L) takes a free kick while his teammate Horacio Agulla watches during their rugby union test match against Italy in Cordoba, northern Argentina June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Mauro Caceres

But Hernandez also went off with a broken hand which is expected to sideline him for two months.

Marcato reduced the arrears with a penalty for Italy before halftime and another eight minutes after the break.

It was only the third match for Argentina since they finished third at last year’s World Cup.

Their previous two games were at home to Scotland this month, winning 21-15 and losing 26-14.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Buenos Aires: Editing by Tony Jimenez

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