Last Update 22:2
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Silva, Costa keep Spain in front of Italy

AFP , Monday 12 Jun 2017
Football Soccer - FYR Macedonia v Spain - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group G - Philip II Arena, Skopje, FYR Macedonia - June 11, 2017 David Silva celebrates scoring their first goal Reuters
Views: 1368
Views: 1368

Spain kept their noses in front of Italy in the fight for automatic qualification for next year's World Cup as David Silva and Diego Costa were on target in a 2-1 win in Macedonia on Sunday.

The two European giants remain locked on 16 points at the top of Group G of UEFA qualifying after Italy saw off Liechtenstein 5-0 in Udine.

And Spain host the Azzurri in their next qualifier at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu on September 2.

Victory extends Julen Lopetegui's unbeaten record as Spain boss since replacing Vicente del Bosque just under a year ago, and the visitors looked to be set for an easy night in Skopje after a dominant first 45 minutes.

Silva has been the talisman of Lopetegui's reign and took his tally to eight goals in his last 10 international caps by finishing off a fine move involving Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba for the opener on 15 minutes.

Isco was rewarded for his brilliant form towards the end of Real's La Liga and Champions League double-winning campaign with a rare start for his country and looked keen to make an impact.

He stung the palms of Stole Dimitrievski before driving another effort just over the bar.

There was no stopping Isco midway through the half, though, as some sublime skill took him past Kire Ristevski before his low cross was turned home by Costa at the back post.

Isco should have added a third before half-time when he dallied before firing too close to Dimitrievski at his near post.

However, Spain looked like a side in need of a rest after a long season as they took their foot well off the gas after the break to allow Macedonia back into the game.

It took an individual moment of brilliance from Stefan Ristovski to give the hosts hope, though, as the right-back charged forward below blasting high into David de Gea's top left-hand corner.

Dimitrievski was forced into one final fine save four minutes from time to prevent Costa adding a gloss to the scoreline, but Lopetegui's men comfortably saw out the final stages for a hard-earned three points.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.