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Spain finish season with vital qualifier win in Macedonia

David Silva celebrates opening the scoring against Macedonia.
David Silva celebrates opening the scoring against Macedonia. / Georgi Licovski/ EFE
  • Julen Lopetegui's side's 2-1 win in the capital Skopje ensured Spain's match with second-place Italy in September will likely decide the winner of Group G

A stunning first half from Spain saw them run out 2-1 winners against Macedonia on Sunday night in their latest Group G World Cup qualifier.

Just as he did against Colombia last Wednesday evening, David Silva gave Julen Lopetegui's side the lead in the 15th minute when his deflected shot rolled past Stole Dimitrievski.

Spain began to dominate possession and doubled their lead 11 minutes later when former Malaga midfielder Isco escaped the challenge of Kire Ristevski before squaring for Diego Costa to tap home.

Spain continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession in the second half, but were guilty of missing some excellent chances, such as Gerard Piqué's free header from just outside the six-yard box.

The hosts would then endeavour to set up a tense final twenty minutes when Stefan Ristovski burst past the Spain defence from a Goran Pandev pass before rifling past David De Gea.

Macedonia could have had a chance to equalise right at the death when Sergio Ramos appeared to impede Ilija Nestorovski in the area, but the hosts' appeals were waved away by the referee, who blew for full time shortly after.

Lopetegui's and Spain's next encounter will probably decide the group winner, with Gian Piero Ventura's Italy the visitors to the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid on 2 September.