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Late Dani Olmo winner seals warm-up win for Spain against Albania

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By IANS Updated: Mar 27, 2022 11:40 am
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Spain
Late Dani Olmo winner seals warm-up win for Spain against Albania.

Barcelona, March 27 (IANS): Dani Olmo’s last-minute winner gave Spain a 2-1 win in their friendly game at home against Albania here.

Olmo controlled a pass from Jordi Alba before curling the ball into the far corner of the net just when it looked that Spain’s inability to turn control into goals was going to see the game end in a draw.

The game in Espanyol’s RCDE Stadium on Saturday night was the first time Spain had played in Barcelona in 18 years and there were four FC Barcelona players in Luis Enrique’s starting 11, reports Xinhua.

One of those, Ferran Torres, had put the Spanish ahead in the 74th minute after being set up by substitute Yeremi Pino, but an error from Pau Torres in the 85th minute looked to have gifted Albania a draw.

Torres’ back header deflected off Myrto Uzuni to leave Spain’s goalkeeper David Raya completely wrong-footed in what was otherwise a relatively comfortable debut for him.

As has happened on so many previous occasions, it was no problem for a Spain midfield of Rodri Hernandez, Pedri and Gavi, ably supported by Torres and Pabloi Sarabia to control the ball. However, despite having over 70 percent of possession, Spain struggled to test Albania keeper Etrit Berisha.

Ferran had a good run in the fourth minute of a high-energy first half before Pedri had a shot comfortably saved in the 20th minute and another blocked by Berisha 10 minutes before halftime.

The second half saw Berisha block a thunderbolt from Rodri from outside the penalty area in the first minute of the second half and the Manchester City midfielder saw another effort deflected just wide moments later.

Overall, however, Albania’s five-man defense were relatively comfortable against Spain’s control of the ball, until Torres opened the scoring. That is something the Spain coach has to work on in his side’s remaining preparation games for the World Cup finals, starting against Iceland on Tuesday.

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By IANS Updated: Mar 27, 2022 11:40:31 am