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FIFA 2018 WC Qualifiers: Immobile rescues Italy, Spain break down Albania

Monday 10th October , 2016 5:46 am
©Getty Images
©Getty Images

 

Group D

Wales 1-1 Georgia
Wales were unable to add a second win in three games after being pegged back by a doughty Georgia side. The UEFA EURO 2016 semi-finalists looked well set after Gareth Bale headed in early on from a Joe Ledley corner, but Tornike Okriashvili nodded in Valeri Kazaishvili’s cross after the break, and Kazaishvili hit the crossbar as Georgia claimed their first point.

Moldova 1-3 Republic of Ireland
Ireland and Serbia are now clear of the pack in Group D, but Martin O’Neill’s side were given a scare in Chisinau when Moldova scored with their first shot of the game on half-time to cancel out Shane Long’s early opener. Two James McClean goals in eight minutes midway through the second period sealed the points.

Serbia 3-2 Austria
Austria’s 13-match unbeaten run in EURO and FIFA World Cup qualifying came to an end in a topsy-turvy encounter in Belgrade. The visitors twice cancelled out first-half goals from Aleksandar Mitrović but had no answer to Dušan Tadić’s strike 16 minutes from time, the Southampton man adding a goal to two earlier assists.

Group G
FYR Macedonia 2-3 Italy
Ciro Immobile extended Italy’s unbeaten sequence in World Cup and EURO qualifiers despite his side flirting with disaster in Skopje. Andrea Belotti volleyed the Azzurri in front on his third international appearance, but Ilija Nestorovski and Feran Hasani buried quick-fire efforts after the break to potentially end the visitors’ run at the 53rd time of asking; Immobile had other ideas.

Albania 0-2 Spain
Spain leapfrogged Albania at the Group G summit courtesy of a patient victory away to the early section leaders. Julen Lopetegui’s men enjoyed 73% possession in the first half but struggled to threaten their well-organised rivals, before a mistake from Etrit Berisha allowed Diego Costa to break the deadlock, substitute Nolito then doubling the advantage.

Israel 2-1 Liechtenstein
Tomer Hemed scored twice as Israel made it two wins from two following their opening loss to Italy. The Brighton & Hove Albion forward struck both goals in the first 16 minutes to take his campaign tally to three, though Liechtenstein reduced the deficit as 19-year-old Max Göppel buried their first effort on the road to Russia 2018.

Group I
Iceland 2-0 Turkey

Iceland remain level on points with Croatia at the top after dispatching Turkey via a frenetic spell of football close to the interval. The opener was harsh on the visitors as Ömer Toprak diverted an effort from Elmar Bjarnason into his own net, but Iceland seized the moment to add a second two minutes later, Alfred Finnbogason rifling in following Kári Árnason’s header over the Turkish defence.

Finland 0-1 Croatia
Croatia remain top of the section after posting a hard-fought away victory in Tampere. Fresh from hitting a hat-trick in Thursday 6-0 defeat of Kosovo, Mario Mandžukić delivered the only goal, heading in Andrej Kramarić’s shot from point-blank range.

Ukraine 3-0 Kosovo
Three games into their bid, Ukraine finally have a win on the board – and it proved comfortable in the end against a Kosovo team on one point. Amir Rrahmani deflected in an Artem Kravets shot to put the hosts in front, and they finished strongly as Andriy Yarmolenko kept up his record of scoring in every qualifier so far before substitute Ruslan Rotan also registered.

 

 

 

Source: UEFA

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