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Spain v Albania Live Commentary, 3/26/22

2 - 1
Ferran Torres (75)
Dani Olmo (90)
M. Uzuni (85)
RCDE Stadium


That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed this game. See you for the next one!
Although much, much tighter than they'd have expected, Spain's character shone through to secure a victory, that stands them in good stead for their upcoming fixture with Iceland. Albania's next fixture is against a more evenly-matched side in Georgia, and given that the Red and Blacks held on for so long against world-class Spain, it's likely that they'll do very well in front of their home fans.
Ferran Torres proved to be a constant threat throughout the game, and sent Spain on their way with a well-taken opening goal 15 minutes from time. That was one of three shots on target he completed, as well as a key pass, a cross and ten duels. The recent Barcelona signing came into his own, excelling in Barcelona for both club and country.
Well, what a last 15 minutes that turned out to be! Dominant throughout, it didn't look like Spain would find their cutting edge until Ferran Torres ghosted into space, to squeeze in their opener on 75 minutes. A freak equaliser following a clearance gone wrong looked to have put paid to their hard work, but up popped Olmo in the final stages to curl in an absolute beauty of a winner to secure a 2-1 victory for Spain!
90' + 3' Alba throws long into the box looking for Olmo again, but Djimsiti outmuscles the goalscorer to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick.
90' + 1' We're into the first of three added minutes to close out this game.
Jordi Alba
90' The awareness of Pedri to find Alba was exceptional, and the final pass to give Olmo all that time was even better. The finish though, was something else. Wow!
Dani Olmo
90' GOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!! Spain might just have won it!!!! Pedri's lofted pass puts Alba into space, and he finds Olmo in the box. The substitute turns and picks his spot, curling an outrageous finish into the top corner to make it 2-1 and surely win it for La Roja!
88' Pino turns Djimsiti brilliantly and races past him before being shoved into touch down the right. It's a foul that looks worthy of a booking, but the referee keeps his cards in his pockets to spare the already-carded Djimsiti from a sending off.
88' Alba races forward into an offside position as he's found by Pau Torres, but the flag's rightfully up before he can even think about shooting past Berisha.
87' A truly crazy goal, and an absolute horror show for debutant Spain goalkeeper Raya. Torres was too at fault and got the penultimate touch, but the visitors will have their tails up now as the game draws to a close!
M. Uzuni
85' GOOOAAAALLLLL!!!! It's an equaliser!!!! A long clearance-turned-cross causes a mix-up between Raya and Pau Torres, and it deflects off Uzuni to bounce into the empty net to bring the scores level!! 1-1 with five minutes to go, and who'd seen that coming?
R. Manaj
A. Broja
84' Broja has been well and truly nullified by the Spain defenders, and he's replaced by Barcelona forward Rey Manaj.
O. Roshi
I. Balliu
84' Balliu is the next Albania player to come off, and Odise Roshi takes his place at wing-back.
82' Despite brief suggestions of an Albanian opener, Spain since the goal have had the ball almost exclusively. They've made 821 passes in the game, compared to just 186 by the opposition, and have completed 92.7 per cent of those passes compared to just 64 per cent by Albania.
80' Ismajli has been solid at the back for Albania thus far, making two tackles, a block, and a game-leading five clearances. He's also completed all of his passes inside Spain's half. Titanic.
K. Asllani
Q. Laçi
78' Laci comes off in Albania's latest change, and Kristjan Asllani comes off the bench to make his international debut. What a moment for the 20-year-old.
77' BLOCKED!!!! Albania counter at breakneck speed and Broja leaves Hysaj's cross for Uzuni. He dribbles further towards goal and pulls the trigger, but Pau Torres is in the way to deflect it behind for a corner!
Yeremi Pino
75' Pino, fresh into the game, did exactly what Ferran Torres has been doing all night, cutting inside from the right to cause problems. It's only taken him a few minutes to contribute to a goal, and Spain are finally into the lead!
Ferran Torres
75' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! Spain finally hit the front!!!! Pino steps inside and taps the ball through for Ferran Torres, who beats the last man and slots it past Berisha into the back of the net! It's taken longer than expected, but the ever-dangerous Ferran Torres has his goal to make it 1-0!
75' SAVED!!! Spain flood forward as Azpilicueta waits for attacking support. His cross finds Ferran Torres, who attempts a cheeky backheeled shot that Berisha beats away at the near post!
73' Broja latches onto a bouncing ball and heads it over the top of Pau Torres. He re-gains possession, but the Spain cover has caught up to him and his attempted cross deflects out for a throw.
Yeremi Pino
Álvaro Morata
72' Starting striker Morata comes off too, and Yeremi Pino replaces him.
71' Spain's next change sees Carvajal withdrawn, and on comes Cesar Azpilicueta.
70' Pedri finds Alba wide to his left, and the substitute smashes a low cross towards the six-yard box that is knocked behind by Ismajli for a Spain corner!
69' Olmo clips a first-time ball forward for Alba to chase, but the left-back can't quite get to the ball before Berisha gathers it for Albania.
67' Uzuni looks to counter after a Spain attack breaks down, but Garcia fouls him on halfway to slow Albania's momentum and concede a free-kick.
65' Morata has led from the front in this game, but following the introduction of Alba, hands the substitute the captain's armband for the remainder of the game.
64' Sarabia is also withdrawn by Luis Enrique, and Carlos Soler will take his place on the wing.
Carlos Soler
64' Gavi comes off too, after practically running the show all game long, and he's replaced by Dani Olmo, another La Masia product.
Jordi Alba
Marcos Alonso
64' Alonso comes off in Spain's first change, and Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba replaces him.
62' Raya is put under all sorts of pressure by a Pau Torres backpass, evading four enclosing Albania attackers to clear his lines. The visitors win it back though, after Pau Torres shanks a clearance out for a throw.
M. Uzuni
S. Cikalleshi
61' Myrto Uzuni also enters the fray for the visitors, replacing Cikalleshi.
Y. Ramadani
K. Gjasula
61' Albania make the first changes of the game with Gjasula coming off for Ylber Ramadani.
60' Forward come Spain and it's spread wide to Sarabia, who swings a low cross into the area. Morata's waiting to pounce, but the La Roja captain is again denied, and once more it's Kumbulla in the way!
58' Sarabia looks to link up with Morata with a first-time ball forward, but it's cut out by Kumbulla who clears his lines.
56' OVER!!! Broja sends Balliu streaming down the right and the wing-back crosses low into the area. It passes all the way through to Laci, who tees up Bare on the edge of the box, but the midfielder sends his first-time shot skyward and over the bar!
56' Spain move the ball up the pitch well and spread it wide to Carvajal, but his eventual cross is too close to Berisha, who gladly catches it with ease.
54' Gavi looks to slalom through Albanian defenders and goes down on the edge of the box. It looks a dead-set free-kick, but the referee says play on and the 17-year-old is denied!
52' OVER!!! A cross from the right is headed back across goal by Morata at the back post, and Sarabia attempts a wild overhead kick that flies over the top of the bar!
51' No subs made by either manager over the break, which is unusual for an international friendly. Expect heavy rotation from the 11-man benches of both sides as the second half plays out.
49' Cikalleshi is almost put through on goal, but brings down Garcia on his way forward to concede a free-kick. It's lucky for Spain too, as the Albania striker had plenty of open space to run into had he beaten Garcia fairly.
48' WIDE!!! Rodri's really in the mood in this second half, and shoots from the edge of the box on his left foot this time! It's on target, but a wicked deflection skews the ball just wide of the post!
47' SAVED!!! Carvajal's cross is headed away by Kumbulla, but Rodri's vicious follow-up on the half-volley stings the gloves of Berisha before Albania clear their lines! What an effort that was!
46' Pedri kicks off for Spain, and we're back underway for the second half!
The two sides head back out for the second half, and the home fans will be hoping to see plenty of the only thing this game is missing - goals.
Everything good about Spain in that first half went through Pedri. The teenage midfielder managed two shots on target as well as two key passes, and also completed 39 passes in Albania's half, more than any other Spanish player.
A first half with everything but a goal, Spain will wonder how they've not broken the deadlock in the first 45 minutes. Spain have had seven shots, with three on target, whilst Albania are yet to even attempt one, and should La Roja breach the Albanian defence early in the second half, the floodgates could well and truly open, as the visitors are hanging on by a thread.
45' + 1' A chipped pass from Sarabia puts Alonso into space, and he chips Berisha from the following cross. Kumbulla shanks it clear, but the flags' up for Alonso regardless.
45' + 1' We're into one minute of added-on stoppage time at the end of this first half.
45' WIDE!!! Sarabia steps up at the wide free-kick and looks to shoot, but his curling effort sneaks just around the outside of the near post and goes behind!
B. Djimsiti
Yellow Card
44' A 50-50 for the ball sees Morata touch it past Djimsiti before being caught late, and the Albania defender receives the game's first yellow card.
43' WHAT A CHANCE!!! Broja takes on Pau Torres and breezes past him before crossing. The ball flashes across the face of goal, but Cikalleshi can't quite get there in time, and misses the chance to give Albania a certain opener!
41' Gavi takes on Hysaj and almost beats him down the right, before Laci arrives on the scene and brings him down from behind to concede a free-kick. The 17-year-old has played with such confidence in this game so far, an age-defying performance.
39' Spain pass the ball around the Albania box like it's a training session, but Pedri can't quite find that decisive pass or shot. He spreads it wide to Alonso, who is dispossessed and Broja steams forward on the counter!
37' SAVED!!! Alonso comes forward in acres of space and feeds Pedri. He turns away from Ismajli and shoots on his left foot, but it's a tame effort that the diving Berisha can save relatively easily!
36' After a Ferran Torres cross is headed clear by Albania, the bouncing ball is met by Garcia from 20 yards. He shoots first-time, but Kumbulla blocks it to deny Spain once again!
35' Pedri tries a throughball to put Sarabia in behind down the left, but Ismajli slides in to scythe the ball clear and out for a throw-in.
34' Ferran Torres takes on Hysaj and beats him around the outside, but his right-footed cross hangs high and drifts out of play on its way to Morata at the far post.
32' After Ferran Torres goes down and allows Albania to break forward, his namesake Pau Torres brings down Cikalleshi for a free-kick to the visitors.
30' Spain's possession of the ball has been brought back to a (slightly) more respectable 80.8 per cent, but their passing accuracy of 91.9 per cent dwarfs the 72.2 per cent Albania have managed. Pedri leads the way for Spain with 94.7 per cent accuracy, and it's clear the hosts are making their passes stick with ease compared to Albania.
28' Albania win possession down the right and Ismajli attempts a speculative cross into the area. A deflection takes it Raya's way, and the debutant goalkeeper collects the ball with ease. It's been a quiet first half-hour of international football for the Brentford keeper.
26' Ferran Torres and Gavi are once again causing mayhem down the right, as the teenager wins the ball in the box and looks to feed his winger. Kumbulla arrives to make a vital block, and the two can't re-gain possession before it's hoofed clear!
25' From the free-kick, Albania head clear and Broja races down the left on the corner. He looks to pass inside after running out of room, but Laci can't keep hold of it and Spain win back possession.
24' Morata cheekily chips the ball into the midriff of Broja, who accidentally handballs it. Not completely accidentally, says the referee, and Spain will take a free-kick from a good crossing position.
22' Pedri strides through the middle with Albania's defence scattered. He feeds Sarabia wide to his left, but the winger's cross is deflected away for a throw by Balliu!
20' SAVED!!!! Sarabia and Carvajal team up to dispossess Djimsiti down the right-hand side, and the former crosses into the box. Pedri is waiting on the edge of the area, side-footing a powerful shot through the crowd that Berisha has to get down low to hold!
19' Ferran Torres cuts inside once more but is sandwiched between three Albania players and goes down. Djimsiti is the one penalised, and it's proving ever-more difficult for the visitors to shut down the right-winger's forays into the attacking third!
18' The locals' support is growing by the minute as Spain look to turn the screw. The decibels are rising to urge Spain on, but given that the best chances so far have fallen to Barcelona players, the locals may be encouraging them with a slight pinch of salt!
16' Gavi turns and heads for the box again, finding Pedri in support. He looks to put Ferran Torres through on goal, but a deflection takes the ball into the path of Berisha, who gathers. The two teenagers are running the show for Spain so far!
15' Ferran Torres cuts inside again and looks to link up with Gavi, but his Barcelona teammate is shunted to the floor by Hysaj for a free-kick.
13' CHANCE!!! Albania spring forward in a rare spell of possession as Balliu crosses into the area. It's low and awkward, but Broja slides in to connect, only to be denied by Carvajal who clears for Spain!
12' Albania have hardly had a touch in the first 10 or so minutes. Spain are dominating the ball to the extent that they've had a staggering 91.1 per cent possession rate so far, albeit it's not yet produced the attacking output they'd have hoped for.
10' Gavi swerves into the box and gets rid of Kumbulla with some great footwork, but his attempted pass back inside is cut out and cleared by Djimsiti!
9' Gavi clips a good ball through the middle aiming for Ferran Torres, but Berisha races out of his goal to smother the ball before the Spain winger can latch onto it.
7' Spain have only lost three of the 18 matches they've played in Barcelona, not scoring in two of those defeats. However, 16 of those 18 matches have been friendlies, as is this one. Return.
5' SAVED!!!! Ferran Torres cuts inside from the right and does superbly to beat two defenders on his way towards goal. He shoots on the angle, and it smashes the face of Berisha before going behind for a corner!
3' Morata drops deep to spread the ball wide, but is clattered late by his opposite number Bare. The Spain captain does get to his feet, but that was a heavy challenge on one of La Roja's key attackers.
2' Morata feeds Gavi on the edge of the box, and the Barcelona youngster looks to turn out of Kumbulla's challenge and shoot, but is dispossessed by the Roma centre-back!
1' Albania will kick off, and we're underway in Barcelona!
The teams head out onto the pitch, and following the national anthems, we'll be underway!
Albania will play with a back three in an attempt to keep out the attacking quality of Spain, but 20-year-old Southampton forward Armando Broja, who has three goals in 10 caps, will be just as much of a handful for La Roja to keep tabs on at the other end.
It’s not the most experienced of Spanish lineups, with Brentford goalkeeper David Raya making his debut for the national team between the sticks. The three-man midfield ahead of him features two teenagers, 17-year-old Gavi and 19-year-old Pedri respectively, both of whom play across town at Camp Nou.
ALBANIA SUBS: Elhan Kastrati, Thomas Strakosha, Ermir Lenjani, Erion Hoxhallari, Rey Manaj, Myrto Uzuni, Herdi Prenga, Endri Cekici, Kristjan Asllani, Ylber Ramadani, Odise Roshi, Giacomo Vrioni.
ALBANIA (3-4-1-2): Etrit Berisha; Ardian Ismajli, Marash Kumbulla, Berat Djimsiti; Ivan Balliu, Qazim Laci, Klaus Gjasula, Elseid Hysaj; Keidi Bare; Sokol Cikalleshi, Armando Broja.
SPAIN SUBS: Robert Sanchez, Unai Simon, Cesar Azpilicueta, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Hugo Guillamon, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Yeremi Pino, Dani Olmo.
SPAIN (4-3-3): David Raya; Dani Carvajal, Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Marcos Alonso; Pablo Gaviria, Rodri, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia.
Albania weren’t so fortunate though, finishing third in group I, just two points behind Poland in the final play-off spot.
Spain eased through their World Cup qualification matches, winning Group B by four points ahead of Sweden, and head coach Luis Enrique will use these upcoming fixtures to tinker with his team’s plans, ahead of kick-off in Qatar.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this international friendly match, between Spain and Albania, at Espanyol's RCDE Stadium in Barcelona.