UEFA World Cup qualifying: Italy edges Macedonia, Spain eases past Albania
One of Europe’s top sides needed a late strike to get past a surprisingly competitive Macedonia side.
Ciro Immobile’s brace in the final quarter hour helped Italy rescued a victory against Macedonia during their 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon.
Immobile scored in the 75th and 91st minutes for the Italians, which helped them avoid a potentially disastrous result.
Despite Andrea Belotti’s first-half finish for the Azzurri, it was Macedonia that opened the second half on the front foot. Goals from Ilija Nestoroski and Ferhan Hasani handed the hosts the lead within a span of three minutes, before Immobile rescued the Italians.
Spain pulled off a 2-0 win against Albania behind second-half finishes from Diego Costa and Nolito on the road.
Nacho Monreal played a quick pass to Nolito on left wing for Spain’s second in the 63rd minute, which puts La Furia Roja back atop Group G on seven points. The Manchester City attacker made a brilliant move to cut back against a defender, before slotting his effort past goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.
Following a crucial mistake from the Albania backline, Diego Costa gave the Spaniards the advantage after halftime when David Silva played a simple ball across the center of the box for the Chelsea striker to smash home.
Elsewhere around Europe:
Wales 1-1 Georgia
Moldova 1-3 Republic of Ireland
Serbia 3-2 Austria
Israel 2-1 Liechtenstein
Iceland 2-0 Turkey
Finland 0-1 Croatia
Ukraine 3-0 Kosovo