AFP

Nacho Monreal on target as Spain hit four against Macedonia in World Cup qualifier

Monreal on target as Spain hit four against Macedonia

12/11/2016 at 23:05Updated 13/11/2016 at 06:44

World Cup qualification, Group F - Spain 4 (Velkowski OG 34', Vitolo 63', Monreal 84', Aduriz 85') Macedonia 0

Spain eased to a comfortable 4-0 World Cup qualification win over Macedonia, with David Silva captaining La Furia Roja for the first time.

The playmaker was handed the captain’s armband for the qualifier in Granada and was the best player on the pitch, with most of what Spain did well coming through the Manchester City midfielder on the edge of the opposition penalty area.

Goals from Alvaro Morata, Nacho Monreal and Aritz Aduriz, as well as an own goal from Darko Velowski gave Spain the win, although Macedonia created some opportunities of their own, particularly in the first half.

Spain's midfielder Vitolo celebrates after scoring

Spain's midfielder Vitolo celebrates after scoringAFP

The scoreline somewhat flattered the hosts, but they were reasonably comfortable throughout despite suffering dips in their performance against a team ranked 155 in the FIFA world rankings. Spain will see this as just another step towards the 2018 World Cup in Russia. There was nothing to really stagger their stride.

TALKING POINT

Is Alvaro Morata or Aritz Aduriz Spain’s starting striker? Julen Lopetegui opted to stick with the single striker system against Macedonia, picking Morata to start. The Real Madrid striker found the net but also missed a number of chances in front of goal. Aduriz came on to replace him in the second half and also found the net, but similarly struggled to impose himself on the game. So who is currently holding down the number nine position for Spain?

MAN OF THE MATCH

David Silva - The Manchester City playmaker sparkled throughout. He was given something of a free role by Lopetegui and drifted all across the frontline, finding space and generally linking up the attack and midfield. He probably should have added his name to the scoresheet, spurning a couple of good shooting opportunities, but he was the best player on the pitch by some distance nonetheless.

PLAYER RATINGS

Spain - De Gea 7, Carvajal 6, Bartra 5, Nacho 5, Monreal 7, Koke 6, Thiago 7, Vitolo 8, Busquets 5, Silva 8, Morata 7. Subs - Aduriz 7, Callejon 5, Isco 5.

Macedonia - Dimitrievski 7, Velkowski 4, Mojsov 5, Ristevski 5, Hasani 6, Spirovski 5, Ristovski 6, Bardhi 5, Alioski 6, Pandev 7, Nesterovski 5. Subs - Zuta 5, Gjorgjev 5, Ibraimi 5.

KEY MOMENTS

27’ MORATA TAKES AIM! Silva does brilliantly to slot a pass through to the striker, but he scuffed his shot and the Macedonian goalkeeper Aleksovski makes the stop with his legs.

34’ GOAL! Spain 1-0 Macedonia: That's an unfortunate way to concede. There was no pressure whatsoever, but two Macedonian defenders get in each other's way and Velkowski heads into his own net.

36’ PENALTY SHOUT! Vitolo goes down inside the area under the challenge of Velkowski, but the referee shakes his head and tells the Spanish attacker to get back to his feet.

Spain's Aritz Aduriz celebrates with teammates after scoring against Macedonia

Spain's Aritz Aduriz celebrates with teammates after scoring against MacedoniaReuters

63’ GOAL! Spain 2-0 Macedonia: The hosts finally have the second goal. That should be that. Silva gets in behind and crosses to the back post where Vitolo is on hand to squeeze home a header.

84’ GOAL! Spain 3-0 Macedonia: That's a great finish from Monreal! The cross is played to the back post by Carvajal and the left back is on hand to meet the delivery on the full volley.

85’ GOAL! Spain 4-0 Macedonia: That adds a bit of gloss to the scoreline for the hosts! Spain put together a good passing move, with the ball played to Aduriz, who had the simple task of finishing from six yards out.

KEY STATS

Aritz Aduriz has scored eight goals in his last seven games from just nine shots on target for club and country.

Vitolo has scored in three of his last four appearances for Spain.

Koke attempted 52 passes in the opposition half in the first half, 21 more than all the Macedonian players combined.

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