Thursday 22 March 2018

Llorente double helps Spain make light of absent stars

Fernando Llorente powered home two headers and David Silva added a superb third to give world and European champions Spain a 3-1 win over Lithuania.

The home side dominated against an ultra-defensive Lithuania in the Group I match but could not find a goal until two minutes after the break when Llorente, playing in place of the injured Fernando Torres, nodded home from a Sergio Ramos cross.

The visitors hit back through Darvydas Sernas before Santi Cazorla provided the cross for Llorente to put Spain back in front.

The lively David Silva -- playing because Xavi and Cesc Fabregas were sidelined --made it 3-1 in the 79th minutes with another header, sending a Ramos centre whistling into the top corner.

Miroslav Klose scored two goals to help Germany beat Turkey 3-0 in their qualifier and become his country's second-highest scorer. Klose scored late in either half to reach 57 goals, 11 behind Gerd Mueller's record of 68.

Meanwhile, Nani scored twice in three minutes and Cristiano Ronaldo added another as Portugal beat Denmark 3-1 to collect their first win in qualifying.

Nani sidefooted first-time into the net from a Ronaldo cross in the 29th and picked up a stray pass by Christian Poulsen to strike a left-foot shot for his second.

Ricardo Carvalho deflected the ball into his own net with 10 minutes to go but Ronaldo sealed it in the 85th minute.

Elsewhere, Faroe Islands manager Brian Kerr suffered a miserable night as his side were hammered 5-1 by Slovenia.

Finally, Japan shocked Lionel Messi's Argentina 1-0 last night in the Asian side's first match under new Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni. Striker Shinji Okazaki stabbed home the winner in the 19th minute to give Japan their first ever victory over Argentina.

Irish Independent

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