Giorgio Chiellini scored all three goals on the night as Italy beat Azerbaijan 2-1 while Netherlands were made to sweat as they came from behind to beat ten men Kazakhstan 3-1.
Chiellini opened the scoring for Italy before going on to bundle the ball in his own net as the visitors equalised. But the Juventus defender made amends as scored the winner for the 2006 World Cup winners.
2014 World Cup semi-finalists Netherlands went behind to a Renat Abdulin header in the first half at the Amsterdam Arena and had to wait till the second half for Schalke’s Klaas Jan Huntelaar to equalise before Ibrahim Afellay and a Robin van Persie penalty in the final ten minutes secured a hard-earned win for the Dutch in Group A.
In Istanbul, Czech Republic beat Turkey 2-1 while Iceland continued to top Group A after winning 3-0 in Latvia.
Croatia secured a 1-0 win at Bulgaria to stay on top of Group H, level with Italy.
In Group B, Wales were held to a 0-0 draw in Cardiff by Bosnia-Herzegovina while Cyprus lost 2-1 at home to Israel.
Norway meanwhile beat Malta 3-0 with Blackburn’s Joshua King scoring a brace and Cardiff City’s highly rated youngster Mats Moller Daehli also getting on the score sheet.