Matteo Politano came off the bench to snatch a late winner for Italy, breaking the deadlock in the 94th minute against United States.
Roberto Mancini's side toiled for much of Tuesday's international friendly in Genk but finally found a way to beat impressive goalkeeper Ethan Horvath with mere seconds remaining in added time.
Politano only came on as a substitute with three minutes to play but he dashed into the box to finish sweetly at the end of a rare incisive attack from the Azzurri.
Italy have now kept three clean sheets in a row but Mancini will be concerned about how long it took his team to break down an inexperienced United States side.
Horvath denied Federico Chiesa in the third minute, the Fiorentina forward then rifling wide of the far post.
In a lively start for the Azzurri, the busy Horvath blocked a Leonardo Bonucci effort after the centre-back was picked out by a clever free-kick from debutant Stefano Sensi.
Horvath tipped over a dipping 20-yard curler from Domenico Berardi in the 39th minute and had to be alert to push away Marco Verratti's inswinging free-kick as Italy kept pushing for the opener.
Half-time substitute Vincenzo Grifo delivered a chipped cross that Verratti could not quite jump high enough to convert as the onslaught continued after the interval.
United States, for whom Christian Pulisic became their youngest captain of the modern era, finally recorded a shot in the 63rd minute when Kellyn Acosta's free-kick found Walker Zimmerman at the back post, but Salvatore Sirigu palmed the defender's header away.
Grifo forced yet another save from Horvath and teenage striker Moise Kean dragged a decent chance wide on his debut as Italy grew increasingly desperate.
But in the last minute of added time, Verratti fed Roberto Gagliardini and the Inter midfielder laid off a clever pass for the onrushing Politano to collect and beat the unfortunate Horvath.
It is seven games in a row under Mancini without a goal in the first half for Italy and their lack of a clinical edge in front of goal was clear to see. Plenty of chances were created and Horvath had a lot to do, but not many of his saves were particularly challenging to pull off. It took Inter team-mates Politano and Gagliardini, both late substitutes, to unlock the US defence.
Horvath repels Azzurri attack
United States were grateful for goalkeeper Horvath, the 23-year-old keeping Italy at bay almost single-handedly. He was perhaps fortunate Italy's finishing was so poor until Politano's late impact, but the Club Brugge goalkeeper showed excellent reflexes. He did not deserve to be on the losing side.
Berardi and Chiesa lacklustre
Italy have lacked an elite striker for some time and on this evidence, neither Berardi nor Chiesa have the quality required to score regularly at international level. Their work outside the box was adequate but when the chances came they failed to make the most of the opportunities.
Focus turns to domestic duties as the next international break is not until March.
18 de diciembre 2018
|BREAKING NEWS: Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|
|Mourinho sacked: Solari not worried for Real Madrid job|
|Mourinho sacked: 895 days and more than £700,000 in five-star luxury|
|ES Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 (6-5 on penalties): Dhaouadi holds nerve to settle ill-tempered affair|
|Murphy lands permanent Tigers role|
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
17 de diciembre 2018
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|
|PSG matches against Montpellier and Dijon rearranged|