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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Friendlies: Spain cruise to win in Equatorial Guinea

Football Friendlies: Spain cruise to win in Equatorial Guinea

November 17, 2013 09:24 IST

Football Friendlies: Spain cruise to win in Equatorial GuineaA second-string Spain celebrated coach Vicente del Bosque's two-year contract extension with a 2-1 away win over Equatorial Guinea in a friendly on Saturday that was marred by an injury to Xabi Alonso.

Del Bosque, who said on Friday he had agreed to stay on until 2016, fielded a host of reserve players for the match in Malabo but Spain were still comfortably better than their former African colony, ranked 119th in the world.

A howler from home goalkeeper Danilo gifted the world and European champions their opening goal in the 13th minute when he dropped a Juan Mata centre and Santi Cazorla tapped into an empty net.

Defender Jimmy Bermudez levelled with a fine header from a corner in the 36th minute before Juanfran lashed in a loose ball from close range two minutes before halftime.

Bermudez celebrated wildly after rising unmarked to power the ball past Pepe Reina and Spanish media reported the Equatorial Guinea players had been promised a 50,000-euro bonus if they scored.

Spain's victory, their 68th in 83 matches under Del Bosque, was soured by an injury to midfielder Alonso, who was making his first appearance for his country after five months out following surgery on a groin problem and a broken toe.

One of several Spain players on the receiving end of some wild tackles from their opponents, many of whom play in Spain's lower leagues, Alonso hobbled off and was replaced by Sergio Busquets shortly before the break.

The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said the Real Madrid player had suffered a bruised ankle, suggesting he may be unavailable for Tuesday's friendly against South Africa at SoccerCity in Johannesburg, the scene of Spain's maiden World Cup triumph in 2010.

"They were physically very powerful and they did not allow us to play within our comfort zone," Del Bosque said in a pitchside interview with Spanish TV broadcaster Telecinco.

"We didn't get drawn into the battle and tried to play our game and we missed a few scoring chances," he added.

Marc Bartra of Barcelona made an accomplished debut alongside Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez in central defence, while Napoli's Reina made a rare appearance in goal with captain Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes on the bench.

Brazil turn on the style to hammer Honduras

Brazil turned on the style in the second half to score four goals and hammer Honduras 5-0 in a friendly in Miami on Saturday.

Honduras started strongly but Brazil opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Paulinho took possession on the right and delivered an inviting low cross for Bernard to strike home from eight yards.

Brazil doubled their lead in the 54th minute when a Dante header hit two Honduran defenders, wrongfooted goalkeeper Valladares and rolled into the net.

Brazil's third was similarly scrappy, Valladares parrying a Paulinho shot only as far as Maicon, who had the easiest of tap ins in the 65th minute.

Substitute Hulk had been on the field just three minutes when he provided a cut back for Willian to score his first international goal with a side foot finish from 12 yards out.

Hulk himself completed the rout in the 73rd minute when he finished a wonderful team move by curling a left foot shot into the corner of the net.

Image: Andres Iniesta (front right) of Spain controls the ball

Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

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