For his first official match as coach, Robert Moreno put out a convincing team. A central player focused on moving ahead more than holding possession; two full-backs pushing up well; two forwards that work hard to recover the ball; and a security triangle of Llorente, Sergio Ramos and Busquets. All this backed up by the splendid Kepa in goal. A nicely assembled team that ran out onto the Romanian pitch with the idea of collecting the three points without trying to show off. A steady game, neither fast nor slow, a kind of ‘allegro ma non tropo’ in contrast to the moderately slow ‘andante’ of those happy years of Xavi, Iniesta and co.
Ramos with another penalty
The team were up against a defensive Romania, one which left Puscas up top, a little beast capable of battling with anyone, even if they are guys with as much experience as Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets, the second of whom took an elbow to the face. Spain were dominant. They pushed on and forced Tatarusanu into making a number of saves. The first goal came from a penalty, given by our good friend Aytekin and tucked away by Sergio Ramos, in what was his 21st goal for Spain. From the spot he has completed 23 from 27, a quite brilliant return. Spain deserved to go ahead with a more attractive goal, but they were good value for the lead.
Class and complacency
The beautiful goal did come, though, and right at the beginning of the second half, in a combination play that saw Ceballos with a great through ball into the path of Alba. His pass across goal laid it on a plate for Alcácer to finish. Everything was wrapped up, or so we all thought, including the Spanish defenders, who conceded the most basic of goals. A ball flying from one side of the area to the other until it was lifted into the middle by Puscas to the newly-introduced Andone. That created an unnecessarily nervy ending, complicated further by the sending off of Llorente (again Puscas involved), but a final stop by Kepa ensured the victory, a first there for Spain. It's a win that fires us on at the top of the table.