2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers: Isco inspires Spain to dominating win over Italy
Two brilliant strikes from Isco and a late goal from Alvaro Morata gave Spain a spectacular 3-0 win over Italy, their nearest challengers in Group G, to move into the driving seat for automatic qualification to the 2018 World Cup.
Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco, who was deployed in a “false nine” position as a deep-lying striker, curled a free kick beyond the reach of veteran Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to put Spain ahead in the 13th minute.
Isco then received the ball on the edge of the area and danced past a defender before cracking a low shot into the near bottom corner which again proved too quick for Buffon five minutes before halftime.
Substitute Morata crafted a superb counter-attack with Sergio Ramos to start and finish the move for the third goal which he slotted past former Juventus team mate Buffon 13 minutes from time, rounding off Spain’s best performance against Italy since their 4-0 win in the Euro 2012 final.
Spain top Group G on 19 points, three ahead of Italy and seven clear of Albania, who beat basement side Liechtenstein 2-0 on Saturday. Macedonia pulled off a surprise 1-0 victory at Israel but are still three points behind them in …read more