Spain, Italy cruise
|Source: The Hitavada Date: 26 Mar 2017 09:16:48|
ITALY and Spain cruised to easy victories and stayed on top of the Group G with equal points in the World Cup qualifiers. Italy beat Albania 2-0 while Spain brushed Israel 4-1 in Friday night’s games.
Elsewhere, Ireland dented Wales’ hopes when both played out a 0-0 draw.
Gianluigi Buffon kept a clean sheet in his 1,000th professional appearance for club and country as Italy beat Albania.
Buffon had little to do making only one save as the Italians controlled the action in Palermo.
The opening goal came in the 12th minute after Migjen Basha hauled down Andrea Belotti in the box during a set piece, and Daniele De Rossi converted the penalty.
Visiting Albania fans threw flares on the pitch before the spot-kick, and in the second half the game was halted for nine minutes.
Ciro Immobile made sure of the points for Italy in the 71st minute, heading home following a set piece. Italy remained level on points with Spain atop Group G, though La Roja hold first place on goal difference following a 4-1 win at home over Israel.
Spain looked dangerous from the start as Thiago Alcantara saw his strike tipped onto the bar by Israel keeper Ofir Marciano, who then proceeded to have a miserable night.
The hosts took the lead seven minutes later when Jordi Alba nutmegged a defender with a pass to David Silva, who in turn put his shot between Marciano’s legs.
Spain doubled the lead just before the break when Vitolo stayed onside to put a shot on goal without looking, and the ball rolled slowly past Marciano’s outstretched hand.
At the start of the second half, Diego Costa missed an open header, then a few minutes later beat the goalkeeper to add to the scoresheet.