Paco Alcacer, Sergio Ramos Give Spain Euro 2020 Qualifier Win vs. Romania

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IISeptember 5, 2019

Spain's defender Sergio Ramos (R) celebrates scoring with his team-mates during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Romania and Spain in Bucharest, Romania, on September 5, 2019. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
DANIEL MIHAILESCU/Getty Images

Spain beat Romania 2-1 to maintain their perfect record in 2020 UEFA European Championship qualifying on Thursday at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest.

The visitors dominated the first half and took the lead on 29 minutes from the penalty spot. Captain Sergio Ramos fired home the spot-kick after Dani Ceballos was caught on the ankle by Ciprian Deac.

Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer both had chances to extend Spain's lead before half-time but were denied by good saves from Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Alcacer tapped home Spain's second within a minute of the restart to make it 2-0, but the hosts managed to pull one back on the hour when substitute Florin Andone headed home from close range.

Spain suffered another blow late on when Diego Llorente was sent off for bringing down Andone on the edge of the area as the last defender.

Romania pressed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages but could not make their extra-man advantage count as the visitors held on for the win.

Spain boss Robert Moreno's starting XI made for interesting reading. The 41-year-old handed starts to Ceballos, Fabian Ruiz, Saul Niguez and Alcacer:

The Spaniards had failed to win in six previous visits to Romania but started the game strongly and could have taken the lead within the first minute of the game.

Jesus Navas stole the ball deep inside Romania territory and teed up Alcacer, but the Borussia Dortmund frontman was denied by Tatarusanu.

The Romania goalkeeper enjoyed a busy opening 45 minutes and frustrated the Spanish attackers. He pushed an Alcacer effort around the post and then tipped a Ramos header over the bar from a corner.

Spain continued to press and forced the Lyon back-up into more work on 13 minutes. Navas crossed for Jordi Alba to drill an effort at goal that was saved.

The deadlock was eventually broken after Deac appeared to tread on Ceballos' ankle. Up stepped Ramos, who made no mistake with a low penalty to a corner:

Spain continued to dominate the rest of the half and ought to have gone in at the break with a bigger lead.

Tatarusanu did well to deny Rodrigo from close range and then tipped an Alcacer effort over the bar with half-time looming.

The 33-year-old, who played the last two seasons with Nantes, drew plenty of praise:

Spain picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and doubled their lead within a minute of the restart with a neatly worked goal.

Ceballos set up Alba with a brilliant pass with the outside of his boot, allowing the Barcelona defender to send in a low cross for Alcacer to tap home.

Romania had offered nothing as an attacking force but managed to pull one back just before the hour mark. Romario Benzar sent in a deep cross for George Puscas to head back across goal, where substitute Andone nodded home from close range, as shown by Sky Sports Football (UK only):

Spain suffered another blow when centre-back Llorente was sent off for bringing down Andone, who just went on loan at Galatasaray from Brighton & Hove Albion, when he was clean through on goal on 79 minutes.

The hosts pressed for the equaliser and came within a whisker of grabbing a point in stoppage time. Hagi crossed for Puscas to power a header that was blocked by Kepa's outstretched boot.

It was a crucial save from the Chelsea goalkeeper that preserved the win for Spain and means Moreno's side are five points clear at the top of Group F after five games played.

      

What's Next?

Both teams are in action again on Sunday in Euro 2020 qualifying. Spain play the Faroe Islands at El Molinon in Gijon, while Romania host Malta.

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