Costa leads as former champs score easy win over Israel
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.