Spain won 2-0 in Albania on Sunday evening to remain top of World Cup qualification group G, tied on points with Italy, who survived a scare in Montenegro, coming from behind to win 3-2.
Two second half goals from Chelsea’s Digo Costa who benefited from a David Silva assist and Nolito’s 63rd minute finish courtesy of Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal means Lopetegui’s side have now gone four games unbeaten in all competitions since the 2-0 defeat to Italy at the Euros back in June.
Nacho Monreal made his first Roja appearance in three years. Albania, meanwhile, headed into the game with maximum points from their opening two matches to take first place in the pool.
The visitors dominated the first half, but their efforts went unrewarded. Vitolo of Sevilla had what was probably the best chance saved the Albanian keeper, while Chelsea’s Diego Costa failed to find the target with a fine header.
Spain’s impressive display finally bore fruit after 53 minutes when a Berisha error led to Silva setting up Diego Costa to tap home into an empty net. Ten minutes later, former Barça man Nolito doubled the lead and the three points never looked in doubt from that moment on.
In the other game in the group, Israel beat Liechtenstein 2-1 to join Albania on six points, one fewer than Spain and Italy.