MADRID, March 25 (Xinhua) — Spain kicked off their campaign to qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals with a 1-1 draw at home to Greece after a match in which the Spanish paid for their inability to turn to their control of the ball into clear chances or goals.
Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for the Spanish at the end of the first half, while Greece leveled from a questionable penalty given 10 minutes after the break.
Spain coach Luis Enrique fielded a side that saw Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente start at right-back while Ferran Torres, Dani Olmo, and Alvaro Morata started in attack ahead of a midfield make up of Koke, Sergio Canales, and Rodrigo Hernandez.
The first half saw Spain control 80 percent of possession but they failed to produce anything of note with it until the 32nd minute when Dani Olmos smashed a dipping shot against the Greek crossbar.
A minute later Spain took the lead when Alvaro Morata controlled Koke’s ball over the top on his chest before scoring with his left foot.
Inigo Martinez replaced Sergio Ramos, who had suffered some problems in the lead up to the game, at halftime and the central defender committed a penalty in the 56th minute after he was harshly adjudged to have fouled Georgios Masoura after clearing the ball.
Although the contact existed, it’s hard to see how Martinez could have avoided colliding with the Greek forward after clearly winning the ball previously.
Anastasios Bakasetas made no mistake from the penalty spot, driving the ball past Unai Simon, who had previously only touched the ball to clear with his feet.
Luis Enrique made changes to look for a winning goal with Bryan Gil and Pedri making their debuts and Thiago Alcantara on for Koke.
However, despite controlling the ball, Spain’s only chance was a tame header from Morata, although Gil looked very lively on the left for the Spanish.
Spain now travels to face Georgia and will need to improve after managing just two shots on target during the game. Enditem