Home » International, Latest » Match Report: Equatorial Guinea 1 Spain 2

Spain laboured their way to a narrow victory over Equatorial Guinea in an international friendly in Malabo thanks to first half goals from Santi Cazorla and Juanfran Torres.

However, the game will be remembered more for the aggressive challenges from the hosts than for the quality of football on show.

Inigo Martinez, Alberto Moreno, Fernando Llorente and Xabi Alonso were all on the wrong end of tackles that were not fit for a friendly, and the Real Madrid midfielder had to be substituted before the end of the first half after being hit by a two-footed lunge from striker Thierry Fidjeu.

Most of the memorable action took place in the first half, with Cazorla breaking the deadlock after 12 minutes, but nine minutes before half-time, the European and world champions were stunned when Jimmy Bermudez headed in an equaliser for Equatorial Guinea, ranked 119th in the world.

Atletico Madrid full-back Juanfran put Vicente del Bosque’s side back in front just before the half-time whistle and the action subsided after the break, save for Diosdado’s cynical foul on Llorente and the introduction of World Cup winners Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Pedro.

Del Bosque started with a side consisting of the lesser experienced players in his 23-man squad, with the exception of Alonso, who came in for the injured Javi Martinez.

Barcelona centre-back Marc Bartra was given his international debut and Spain’s attack was an all-Premier League trio of Juan Mata, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas.

The Manchester City winger inadvertently had the first attempt of the game with five minutes on the clock, mis-controlling a pass to send the ball shooting up in the air and towards goal, causing Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Danilo to scramble back onto his line and tip the ball over the bar.

Spain took a while to find their rhythm and when they did take the lead, it was the result of blunder from their opponents.

Mata crossed from the left hand side, the ball flying at the perfect height for Danilo to gather, but the goalkeeper, unchallenged, dropped the cross at the feet of Cazorla, who could not miss.

Navas had the next best chance of the game, shooting just wide of the far post after turning a Guinea defender on the corner of the area, while Negredo and Cazorla later had shots blocked.

The hosts had their first attempt on goal after 35 minutes, Bartra deflecting a shot from Ivan Balado over the bar following a cross from Javier Balboa, and the goal arrived from the resulting corner.

Bermudez rose above the defence to meet Juvenal’s cross and headed the ball into the ground and past the outstretched Jose Reina into the bottom corner to send the 12,000 fans inside the Malabo stadium into a frenzy.

Juanfran restored Spain’s advantage before half-time, playing Navas in down the right hand side, and when the winger’s cross came to nothing, the defender volleyed the loose ball into the back of the net to score his first international goal.

Llorente missed two good chances to extend the visitors’ lead and also had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside, but Spain still got a fright in injury time.

As a final attack from the hosts fizzled out, the ball bounced off Bartra and towards goal, but Reina grabbed it with both hands.

EQUITORIAL GUINEA: Danilo; Bermúdez, Sipo, Mbele, Kily; Randy (Bodipo), Juvenal (Dio); Balboa (Valeriano), Nsue, Tazmeta (Belima); Iván Bolado (Belejarano)

Subs not used: Ovono, Evuy, Rivas, Obina, Kily, Engonga

Goal: Bermudez 36

SPAIN: Reina; Juanfran, Bartra, Íñigo Martinez (Ramos), Alberto, Xabi (Iniesta); Koke (Busquets), Cazorla (Villa); Navas (Pedro), Negredo (Llorente), Mata.

Subs not used: Casillas, Albiol, Monreal, Javi Martinez, Arbeloa, Valdes

Goals: Cazorla 14, Juanfran 42

Source: Daily Mail

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