Mario Balotelli's 76th minute strike saved face for Italy as they drew 2-2 with Armenia on Tuesday night.
Yura Movsisyan gave the visitors the perfect start in the fifth minute, only to see Alessandro Florenzi equalise with a header midway through the first half.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Armenia the lead for a second time in the 70th minute, before substitute Balotelli preserved Italy's unbeaten record in Group B six minutes later.
With qualification already assured, Cesare Prandelli made nine changes from the side that drew 2-2 in Denmark on Friday, with Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Riccardo Montolivo the only men to keep their place.
Armenia coach Vardan Minasyan made two alterations from the 2-1 home victory over Bulgaria, as Varazdat Haroyan and Artur Yedigaryan came in for Artur Sarkisov and Kamo Hovhannisyan.
Movsisyan gave the visitors a dream start in the fifth minute as the Italians surrendered possession on the edge of their own box, the striker clipping the ball over the lunge of Davide Astori before drilling the ball low and hard across Federico Marchetti into the corner.
Osvaldo had a chance to equalise six minutes later after turning smartly in the box, but the Southampton forward curled his left-footed shot wide of the post.
Ten minutes later, he wasted an even better chance after Lorenzo Insigne struck a post from 25 yards, the ball rebounded kindly for the forward, but his tame effort was straight into the arms of Roman Berezovsky with the goal gaping.
The equaliser was not long in coming however, Florenzi nodding home Insigne's delightful chipped cross from six yards in the 24th minute.
Insigne was proving the hosts' main threat and almost put his side in front in the 35th minute, deceiving Hrayr Mkoyan with a quick turn in the box before curling his shot narrowly wide of the right hand post.
After a quiet opening to the second half, it was Insigne who posed the danger once again in the 58th minute, driving into the box before bringing a good save from Berezovsky at his near post.
The Napoli man was in the action again three minutes later, running on to Balotelli's pass on the edge of the box, but he scuffed his effort and the goalkeeper made a comfortable save.
With 20 minutes to go, Mkhitaryan headed Gevorg Ghazaryan's left wing corner in off the crossbar and suddenly Italy's record of never having lost a home World Cup qualifier was under threat.
However, their blushes were spared somewhat as Balotelli ran on to Andrea Pirlo's pass and hooked the ball in.
Haroyan should have claimed a famous winner for his side with 10 minutes to go, but the defender sent his free header over from eight yards.
|Coach: C. Prandelli|
for P. Osvaldo 54'
for A. Florenzi 60'
for A. Aquilani 73'
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Brondby and Slovan to protect handsome leads|
|Bentaleb pens new long-term deal at Tottenham|
|Barca agree Turan deal|
|FIFA bans Mayne-Nicholls|
|United States v Honduras: Klinsmann demands improvement ahead of Gold Cup opener|
|CONCACAF institutes extensive reforms in wake of FIFA corruption scandal|
|Mauri completes Milan move|
|City sign Turkey striker|
|Women´s World Cup final draws huge US TV ratings|
|My first Chelsea team better than current crop - Drogba|
|Bertrand set for lay-off after knee surgery|
|New five-year Juve deal for Marchisio|
|Allegri extends Juve contract|
|Koeman reiterates Alderweireld interest|
|Valencia bag Bakkali|
|New York City FC complete Pirlo capture|
|Panama v Haiti: Collat ready to challenge the best of CONCACAF|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Harrison eyes TNS progression|
|FIFA sanctions Yemen for fielding ineligible player|
|Toulouse rubbish Ben Yedder exit reports|
|Mourinho ´knows what he´s doing´ with Falcao signing|
|Watford shell out club-record fee for Capoue|
|Braafheid signs Lazio extension|
|Nani finalises Fenerbahce move|
|Liverpool confirm O´Driscoll appointment|
|Liverpool have to start better - Lucas|
|USA simply too good - Sasaki|
|Portland Timbers 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Jewsbury wins it in stoppage time|
|No move yet for Van Persie|
|Lloyd wins Golden Ball, Silver Boot awards|
|Mascherano: I never grabbed Banega|
|Dunga requested Brazil not appeal Neymar´s suspension|
|United States 5 Japan 2: Lloyd stars with hat-trick|
|Fiorentina deny Inter criticism|
|Nani relishing Fenerbahce opportunity|
|Newcastle hold talks over Northampton youngster|
|Cuadrado´s agent plays down Chelsea exit rumours|
|Liverpool´s Alberto set for Deportivo loan|
|Leverkusen suffer surprise defeat, Stuttgart hit six|
|Inter ´dismayed´ at Fiorentina vice-president´s Salah Twitter outburst|
|Blaszczykowski ruled out of Dortmund´s Asia tour|
|Gerrard gets the beers in for LA Galaxy fans|
|De Gea coy over Real links|
|Former Brazil star Carlos handed Delhi reins|
|Ciftci will not push through Celtic switch – agent|
|In-demand Mitrovic considering Roma offer|
|Lehmann calls on Cech to ´get over´ Chelsea|
|Marlos double sinks Monaco|
|Mauritius 0 South Africa 2 (agg 0-5): Bafana set up Angola qualifier|
|Keane relishing Gerrard arrival|
|Palace confirm Cabaye interest|
|Hamburg bring in Spahic after head-butt ban|
|Blatter hits out at France and Germany over World Cup votes|
|Sanchez: World Cup exit spurred Chile to Copa glory|
|Jojic makes Cologne switch, Santana move falls through|
|Carrillo keen to get going at Monaco|
|Micronesia thrashed 38-0 as Fiji triumph in Olympic qualifier|
|Schalke stunned by ´machine´ Caicara|
|MLS Review: Keane shines at Gerrard´s Galaxy unveiling|
|Counter-attacking the key for Japan|
|Jimenez happy at Atletico|
|Gerrard predicts ´successful future´ with Galaxy|
|Iniesta can´t see Real selling Ramos|
|Keshi sacked as Nigeria coach|
|Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano|
|Nani close to Fenerbahce move|
|Sampaoli revels in ´unbelievable joy´|
|Bravo: Copa victory a dream|
|Martino: Argentina should have won|
|Chile 0 Argentina 0 (4-1 on penalties): Hosts end trophy drought|
|Germany 0 England 1 (after extra time): England make World Cup history|