Smooth Spain stroll past Saudis

Pedro Rodriguez was on form to score two in a five-goal stroll for Spain on Friday night against Saudi Arabia, whilst the returning David Villa also netted.

Making his 100th appearance for the national team, Fernando Torres started in attack, wearing the captain’s armband too. Victor Valdes, Raul Albiol, Benat Etxebarria and full-backs Juanfran Torres and Nacho Monreal were all given chances to impress from the kick-off.

The game at the Estadio de Pasaron began as expected, with La Roja taking a majority possession, but they struggled to create too much in the final third during the early passages of play.

However, they did score from their first chance, when Pedro Rodriguez ended his run into the box from the left with a cut inside and shot that the ‘keeper could only parry. Falling to the new Arsenal man, Cazorla controlled the ball before knocking it high into the net.

It was 2-0 with their next attack minutes later when Pedro ran on to a loose through-ball to lift the ball over the stranded No 1 Waleed Abdullah.

The goals marked a change of pace to the match, with Frank Rijkaard’s side pushing further up the pitch for a goal back and Spain subsequently finding more space in which to attack.

Beofre the break it was Spain that looked the likeliest to net a third, as they pressed forward on numerous occasions, with neat interchange between Pedro and Torres in particular. Cazorla struck the top corner of the goal frame for the most notable chance in the final 10 minutes of the half.

Half-time substitute Xavi Hernandez made an immediate impact on proceedings, as he curled in a 25-yard central free-kick into the top left-hand corner for 3-0.

The pace of play dipped somewhat after that, as substitutions took their toll, until a late slide tackle on Nacho Monreal in the box earned the home side a penalty just after the hour mark.

Torres may not have been able to mark his 100th cap with a goal, but his replacement Villa netted from the spot to mark his return to the national team after a long injury lay-off.

Pedro then got a second of the night to cement Spain’s domination and comfort drom the second half, when again latching on to a through-ball, this time by David Silva, the Barcelona man was able to once more lift the ball delicately over the ‘keeper.

Spain 5-0 Saudi Arabia

Scorers: Cazorla 23 (S), Pedro 27, 73 (S), Xavi 47 (S), Villa pen 63 (S)

Spain: Valdes (Casillas 72); Juanfran, Albiol, Pique (Ramos 46), Monreal; Busquets (Iniesta 61), Benat, Fabregas (Xavi 46); Pedro, Cazorla (Silva 61), Torres (Villa 53)

Saudi Arabia: Abdullah; Al-Beeshi (Al-Shamrani 88), Al-Mousa, Hawsawi (Albishi 82), Otaif, Kariri; Al-Jassam (Alruwally 62), Aldawsari (Almosa 72), Jezawi (Alhamad 66); Al-Shahrani  (Al-Sahlawi 79)

Ref: Salmanov (AZE)

Tags Cazorla Pedro Saudi Arabia Spain Torres