Dom­i­nant Spain held 1-1 in Italy

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

TURIN, Italy (AP): FOR­MER WORLD cham­pi­ons Italy and Spain played to 1-1 yes­ter­day, giv­ing a chance for un­her­alded Al­ba­nia to take the lead in their Europe qual­i­fy­ing group.

Else­where, Mario Mandzu­kic bagged a hat-trick as Croa­tia beat up Kosovo 6-0, while Wales con­ceded the lead twice away in Aus­tria in a draw.


Spain lost to Italy in the round of 16 at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship and were set for a mea­sure of re­venge in Turin yes­ter­day.

Spain’s Vi­tolo scored in the 55th minute fol­low­ing a rare mis­take from vet­eran Italy goal­keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon.

But Daniele De Rossi con­verted a penalty with eight min­utes re­main­ing af­ter Eder was tripped by Ser­gio Ramos and pre­served his team’s for­mi­da­ble home record. Italy has won 43 World Cup qual­i­fiers, draw­ing the other seven.

Spain and Italy are level on Italy’s Daniele De Rossi (right) cel­e­brates with team­mate Eder af­ter scor­ing dur­ing a World Cup Group G qual­i­fy­ing match be­tween Italy and Spain at the Ju­ven­tus Sta­dium in Turin, Italy, yes­ter­day.

points in Group G af­ter win­ning their open­ing qual­i­fiers. Only the top team qual­i­fies for the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia au­to­mat­i­cally.

Al­ba­nia moved to the top af­ter win­ning in Licht­en­stein 20 to main­tain its per­fect start to its qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.


Mandzu­kic proved un­stop­pable, ruth­lessly ex­ploit­ing Kosovo’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence and scor­ing his three in the first 35 min­utes.

Af­ter Kosovo earned a cred­i­ble draw at Fin­land last month, this was its first com­pet­i­tive home game but was played in Al­ba­nia’s north­ern city of Shkodra as Kosovo has no sta­dium cer­ti­fied by UEFA.

Croa­tia were with­out star mid­field­ers Ivan Rakitic and Luka Mo­dric but had another star avail­able: Mandzu­kic needed just six min­utes to open the scor­ing off a pass from An­drej Kra­maric.

Mandzu­kic met Ivan Perisic’s cross to head home and dou­ble the lead and com­pleted his hat trick with another header 10 min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val, this time us­ing a cross from Sime Vr­saljko for his 27th goal in 71 in­ter­na­tion­als.

Ice­land ral­lied in the fi­nal min­utes to earn their first vic­tory in qual­i­fy­ing, 3-2 over Fin­land.


Marko Ar­nau­tovic twice came to Aus­tria’s res­cue to draw 2-2 with Wales in the group where Wales, Ser­bia, Aus­tria, and Ire­land are sep­a­rated only on goal dif­fer­ence at the top.

Wales took the lead with a slick goal in the 22nd minute, with Joe Allen vol­ley­ing into the net. It was can­celled out in­side six min­utes by Stoke team­mate Ar­nau­tovic’s down­ward header.

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