Spain stay perfect with win over Romania
European Championship Qualifying, Group F - Romania 1 (Andone 59') Spain 2 (Ramos pen 29', Alcacer 47')
Robert Moreno oversaw an eventful first match as Spain’s permanent head coach as they maintained their 100 per cent start in Euro 2020 qualifying with a hard-fought victory in Romania.
Sergio Ramos’ first-half penalty – his eighth goal in nine games for Spain – put the visitors in front before the break.
Florian Andone reignited the contest when heading in three minutes after coming off the bench, and Spain were then left with no choice but to cling onto their lead when Diego Llorente was shown a straight red with 11 minutes to go.
A superb point-blank save from Kepa Arrizabalaga – picked again ahead of David de Gea – denied the hosts at the death as Spain recorded their first ever victory in Romania at the seventh attempt.
It means at the halfway stage of qualifying, Spain are comfortably top with 15 points. Sweden stay in second after cruising to a 4-0 victory away to rock bottom Faroe Islands while Norway's 2-0 win over Malta means that Romania slip to fourth place.
Moreno’s tactics pay off, just – There was plenty of speculation as to how Moreno’s Spain would line up, and with effectively four central midfielders the width was provided by Alba and Jesus Navas. It worked a treat too, with Alba assisting the second goal and Navas proving a nuisance too. Even Sergio Busquets was venturing near the opponent’s penalty area on a handful of occasions.
They were tested, too, when Romania pulled one back and Llorente saw red, but they valiantly held on to move a step closer to Euro 2020.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sergio Busquets – Spain’s metronome ran the show from central midfield. Nothing new there, but his attacking intent was. And then when Spain were down to 10, it was the Barcelona midfielder who calmed things down when possible, taking the sting out of Romania’s advances. An all-round performance from the 31-year-old.
Spain: Arrizabalaga 7, Jesus Navas 7, Llorente 7, Sergio Ramos 7, Jordi Alba 8, Fabian 6, Busquets 8, Saul 7, Rodrigo 6, Alcacer 7, Ceballos 8. Subs: Oyarzabal 6, Sarabia 6, Hermoso N/A
Spain's players celebrate after the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Romania and Spain in Bucharest, Romania, on September 5, 2019.Getty Images
7’ - GREAT SAVE! This time it's a stunning pass from Jesus Navas which plays in Alcacer, and from a tight angle again he forces a fine low save Tatarusanu, who gets fingertips to it and nudges it wide.
27’ - Penalty to Spain! Ceballos is down... just as it looked as though he messed up Spain's attack, the referee points to the spot.
29’ - GOAL! RAMOS FROM THE SPOT! So cool from 18 yards out... Ramos watches the goalkeeper as he saunters up before sending him the wrong way.
38’ - WHAT A SAVE! Copy and paste stuff this - it's another amazing save from Tatarusanu, arguably the best of the lot so far as he shows great reactions to deny Alcacer from point-blank range.
47’ - GOAL SPAIN! Loooovely goal. Beautiful defence-splitting pass from Ceballos, which finds Alba, who plays it over to Alcacer for a tap-in.
59’ - GOAL ROMANIA! What an impact. Andone, on loan at Galatasaray from Brighton, brings Romania back into this one when nodding in from a header back across goal. Few will have seen this coming.
79’ - Well, well, well.... Big call this... AND HE'S OFF! A straight red for Llorente after Puscas is brought down while through on goal... but it's about a yard outside the area. Free-kick.
90+1’ - HUGE SAVE!! Kepa appears to have won this match for Spain! Romania are in disbelief - from point-blank range his left foot denies Puscas, whose header seemed destined to earn the hosts a point.