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Home 8/10 duo Alba, Olmo impress; Shaky Llorente gets 5

8/10 duo Alba, Olmo impress; Shaky Llorente gets 5

Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo were on target as Spain came back from behind to beat minnows Georgio 2-1 in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier contest on Sunday.

Spain largely controlled position but weren’t able to carve out any openings while Georgia posed a threat each time they broke forward on the counter. Both goalkeepers were called into action with Ferran Torres coming close for La Roja while Guram Kashia had a header saved by Unai Simon at the other end.

Close to half-time though Georgia took a shock lead through Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Luis Enrique rang in the changes at half-time in hopes of inspiring a comeback from his team and eleven minutes into the second period, Spain were back on level terms with Torres turning home Jordi Alba’s cross into the back of the net.

Spain kept up the pressure in search of a winning goal and it finally paid off in stoppage time with substitute Dani Olmo firing home a powerful effort from distance. Any hopes of a late rally from Georgia were dashed when Levan Shengelia was sent off for a rash challenge on Pedri, as the former world champions held on for a narrow win.

It was far from convincing from Enrique and his men in Tbilisi and here’s how we rated the performances of the Spain starters on the evening.

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Unai Simon: 6/10

Not a lot he could have done to stop the opening goal. Had little to before or after that, having had to make just one save to deny Kashia’s header in the first half. He misplaced just one of his 17 attempted passes.

Pedro Porro: 6.5/10

Making his debut for the Spanish national team, Porro showed signs of nerves early on, picking up a booking just 13 minutes in. Grew steadier with time though and did well to get forward down the right flank, completing two dribbles. Also, sound defensively as produced three tackles and a couple of interceptions before being subbed off.

Diego Llorente: 5/10

Preferred over Inigo Martinez, the Leeds United man looked shaky each time Georgia broke on the counter. Booked just six minutes into the game for hauling down Kvaratskhelia after being beaten by the winger. Hauled off at half-time, unsurprisingly.

Eric Garcia: 6.5/10

Like his defensive partner, had a nervy beginning with the counterattacks causing him a bit of an issue. Much more solid after the break with the change in partners helping. Composed on the ball as he attempted (139) and completed (131) the most number of passes, while also affecting three interceptions.

Jordi Alba: 8/10

Back in the lineup at the expense of Jose Gaya, the Barcelona man was full of attacking intent on the left. Constantly made forward runs which caused the hosts plenty of problems. Got the assist for both the goals, the first with a clever cross into the box, the second one with a simple, straightforward pass to Olmo. The difference-maker.

Sergio Busquets: 6/10

Wasn’t always able to contain the threat that Georgia posed on the counter which left the Spanish centre-backs exposed. Dug in as the game wore on though, making three tackles and two interceptions. Won the most aerial duels on the evening (7). dealing with crosses and long balls rather efficiently.

Ferran Torres: 7/10

Should have put Spain ahead in the first half but saw his shot saved by the Georgia goalkeeper. Completed all of his attempted three dribbles in the game and scored the all-important equalising goal in the second half that facilitated Spain’s late comeback.

Fabian Ruiz: 6/10

Did not misplace a single of his 38 attempted passes and completed one key pass as well. But wasn’t able to offer the cutting edge that was needed to carve open the Georgia backline. Subbed off for Thiago just ten minutes into the second half.

Pedri: 7/10

Making his first start for the national team, the Barcelona teenager looked bright. Made good movements to find himself in pockets of spaces from where he tried to play his teammates in. Linked up well with those around him, making one key pass while also putting the hard yards off the ball, completing four tackles – the most by a Spanish player in the game.

Bryan Gil: 5.5/10

Showed some signs of spark down the left flank with some tidy exchanges with Alba. Other than that, wasn’t able to offer much as he failed to muster up a single shot or create a chance. Made way for the match-winner Olmo at half-time.

Alvaro Morata: 5.5/10

Offered a focal point at the top but Georgia did well to keep him away from the goal as much as possible. Wasn’t able to connect with Alba’s cross which was eventually turned into the net by Torres. Shot off target from the only other chance he got.


Inigo Martinez: 6.5/10

Half-time substitute for Llorente. An improvement on the man he replaced as he added more composure and solidity to the Spain backline. Was progressive with his passes from the back.

Dani Olmo: 8/10

Half-time substitute for Gil. Spain looked much more purposeful and threatening with the RB Leipzig attacker on the field. Looked sharp with his passes and link-up in the final third before winning it for his team with a thumping effort from distance.

Thiago Alcantara: 6/10

Came on for Ruiz ten minutes into the second half. Offered better control in the centre of the park.

Marcos Llorente: 6/10

Replaced Porro in the 65th minute. Misplaced just two passes and ensured there were no more goals conceded.

Mikel Oyarzabal: 5/10

On for Busquets in the 73rd minute as Spain pushed for a winner. Had just eight touches.

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