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Romania 1-2 Spain: Moreno's men stay perfect in Group F

Paco Alcacer scored Spains winner

Bucharest, September 6: Spain maintained their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying with a 2-1 away win over Romania in Group F.

Sergio Ramos' 10th penalty for his country opened the scoring in Bucharest on Thursday (September 5), with Paco Alcacer adding Spain's second early in the second half.

The Euro 2012 winners had to survive a fightback as substitute Florin Andone scored his first Romania goal since 2015, but the hosts could not find an equaliser despite Diego Llorente's late red card.

La Roja's victory came in their first game since Robert Moreno was confirmed as coach on a permanent basis after Luis Enrique stepped down, the former Barcelona boss this week revealing his nine-year-old daughter, Xana, has died from bone cancer.

Spain's intent and incision was evident from the off, Ciprian Tatarusanu twice denying Alcacer in the first six minutes, with defenders Ramos and Jordi Alba then both kept out.

Romania looked to be holding Spain at bay until George Puscas' challenge on Dani Ceballos saw referee Deniz Aytekin point to the spot, with Ramos easily converting the resulting penalty.

Spain's lead was duly doubled within two minutes of the restart, Saul Niguez bisecting the Romania defence for Alba to square a low cross to Alcacer, who could not miss.

Moreno's side let Romania back into the game, though, Andone capitalising on slack Ramos marking to nod a clever Puscas headed pass beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Spain had to see out the last 11 minutes with 10 men after Llorente clumsily brought down Puscas as he raced through on goal, but after Kepa brilliantly kept out an injury-time Puscas header with his left leg, they have five wins from five.

What does it mean? Stumbling start to Moreno era

Moreno told reporters this week he would step down should Luis Enrique want to return to the post and there were mixed signs for his side. Spain were positive and fluid on the ball, dominating possession, as expected, and creating plenty of chances.

But there were some nerves at the back for Real Sociedad defender Llorente, who got himself in a tangle chasing Puscas, while Andone's introduction made Romania a greater threat in the second half.

Cosmin Contra's side have slipped to fourth in the group, though, thanks to wins elsewhere for Sweden and Norway.

Paco on the mark again

Alcacer perhaps should have scored more goals than his solitary strike, but the Borussia Dortmund striker remains a dangerous presence in the box. Since the start of the new season, he has scored in every outing for club and country.

Ramos at fault

Spain skipper Ramos was warned by Moreno ahead of the game his place is not guaranteed, but he did not appear to heed the coach's words. The Real Madrid star's positioning for Andone's goal, standing yards behind his defensive line, was frankly bizarre.

What's next?

Both teams have winnable home games on Sunday (September 8). Spain host the Faroe Islands, while Romania welcome Malta.

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Story first published: Friday, September 6, 2019, 2:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 6, 2019
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