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Spain 2-1 Albania: Olmo caps late drama with stunning winner
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John Skilbeck
Stats Perform
Dani Olmo (right) celebrates his winner with Jordi Alba
Dani Olmo (right) celebrates his winner with Jordi Alba

Dani Olmo hit a late stunner to spare Spain's blushes and secure a 2-1 win over Albania in a friendly that began in drab fashion but ended in high drama.

Ferran Torres tucked away a pass from substitute Yeremi Pino in the 75th minute to make the breakthrough at Espanyol's RCDE Stadium.

Spain were then stunned when Pau Torres headed a hopeful long ball against Albania's Myrto Uzuni and the ball trickled past debutant goalkeeper David Raya for a freak equaliser.

Yet there was still time for a classy goal from Olmo in the 90th minute, as Spain earned a victory in their first match in Catalonia for 18 years.

Ferran Torres saw an early shot hit Albania goalkeeper Etrit Berisha high on the chest and slide behind for a corner, while Pedri drew a more conventional but equally important save in the 20th minute.

The hosts threatened early in the second half when Alvaro Morata headed the ball back across goal and Pablo Sarabia sent an acrobatic volley over the bar.

Spain were almost caught cold by a rare Albania attack that produced the visitors' first shot, Keidi Bare wastefully firing too high from 15 yards when he should have tested Raya.

This was a senior debut for Brentford goalkeeper Raya and he was largely a spectator.

For large parts, the home side struggled to convert their possession into clear chances, but Yeremi took advantage of dithering defending to snatch the ball and tee up the opener with a precise throughball, Ferran Torres applying the clinical finish.

Then came the bizarre leveller in the 85th minute, with neither Pau Torres nor Raya coming out of that positively.

However, substitute Olmo produced a delicious finish to secure the home win, whipping a strike into the top right corner from 15 yards.

What does it mean? Spain slow out of the blocks

Spain were all pretty patterns and no end product for much of this encounter, which has to be a concern at the beginning of a World Cup year. They struggled for goals in World Cup qualifying too, with a return of 15 from eight games beaten by all other group winners except Switzerland, who chalked up the same number.

They played 948 passes to just 212 by Albania here, and eventually their reward came, but will La Roja be able to impose themselves more effectively against stronger opposition later in the year? The jury remains out on this Luis Enrique side.

Torres to the rescue

He has impressed at Barcelona since arriving from Manchester City, and Ferran Torres showed a sharp touch here for the winner, tucking away his best chance of the night. He had three goal attempts across the 90 minutes and hit the target each time.

With Morata and Sarabia struggling to make their presence felt, Spain were grateful to have Torres on the end of that big opening. Teenager Yeremi did his cause no harm with the tidy assist.

Bossing the ball

Spain had 81.5 per cent of possession, and at time it felt like a training exercise as much as a game. After the late flurry of goals, they have now won all eight of their games against Albania in all competitions.

Against no other opponents have they played more matches and won every time, having also won eight out of eight against Liechtenstein and Malta.

What's next?

Spain face Iceland on Tuesday at the Riazor in A Coruna, while Albania host Georgia on the same day.


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