Costa leads as for­mer champs score easy win over Is­rael

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Spain top Group G with 13 points from five points, ahead of Italy on goal dif­fer­ence. Is­rael are third on nine points and Al­ba­nia are fourth on six.

“Ev­ery game is like a World Cup for us, ev­ery­thing is at stake in ev­ery game and we know that ev­ery time three points are up for grabs they could be de­ci­sive,” Spain coach Julen Lopetegui told re­porters.

“I’m de­lighted with the men­tal­ity of the team and how we wanted to play as a team. We cre­ated a lot of chances and kept at­tack­ing and try­ing to stay in­tense. I’m happy with our col­lec­tive spirit and this is the path we need to stay on.”

Thi­ago Al­can­tara dic­tated the play for Spain in mid­field and cre­ated their first ef­fort with a snapshot from out­side the area which Mar­ciano tipped onto the bar.

Is­rael forced an open­ing when a lapse in con­cen­tra­tion from Ger­ard Pique al­lowed Eran Za­havi to race to­wards goal but the striker lost his com­po­sure as he en­tered the area.

Spain’s pa­tient build-up play paid off when Jordi Alba slid the ball through a de­fender’s legs to Silva on the left side of the area, al­low­ing the City mid­fielder to fire through Mar­ciano’s legs.

Is­rael de­fender Ei­tan Tibi was car­ried off on a stretcher shortly af­ter the first goal fol­low­ing a chal­lenge from Pique. The vis­i­tors had had lit­tle pos­ses­sion but carved out an ex­cel­lent move just be­fore the break, Lior Re­faelov’s header forc­ing David de Gea into a bril­liant low save.

Spain were quickly knocked into shape and got their sec­ond with the next move, Thi­ago lay­ing on a pass which looked des­tined for Silva al­though the mid­fielder, who was off­side, waited for Vi­tolo to send the ball trick­ling over the line.

Costa fur­ther stretched Spain’s lead af­ter the break with a sim­ple header but Re­faelov smashed the ball into the roof of the net af­ter Rami Ger­shon had headed against De Gea’s near post be­fore Isco struck late on. Reuters

Spain’s David Silva (left) scores against Is­rael in their World Cup qual­i­fier in Gi­jon on Fri­day.

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