Isco dou­ble ends Italy’s long record

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

FOOT­BALL: Spain coach Julen Lopetegui praised the adapt­abil­ity of his side af­ter they overcame Italy 3-0 at the Bern­abeu to move clear at the top of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing Group G.

Lopetegui opted to de­ploy Manch­ester City mid­fielder David Silva in the false nine role, with Chelsea’s £60m for­ward Al­varo Mo­rata and re­called vet­eran striker David Villa left on the bench.

It proved, though, a pos­i­tive tac­tic as Italy were over­run by the move­ment across mid­field and through the chan­nels. Real Madrid mid­fielder Isco scored twice on his home ground, clip­ping home a 13th-minute free-kick be­fore dou­bling Spain’s lead with a low strike just be­fore half-time.

While Italy – who had not lost a qual­i­fy­ing tie for a ma­jor cham­pi­onships since Septem­ber 2006, a run of more than 50 games – im­proved for the sec­ond half, the Az­zurri could not find a way back into the match.

Mo­rata came off the bench to tap in a third with 13 min­utes left.

“I’ve al­ways been very sure of the play­ers. It was a hard­worked vic­tory. I am very happy for the level shown against a great team like Italy,” Lopetegui said.

“Italy are a very com­pli­cated team, but we have been able to match them. Our per­for­mance was very high.”

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