Thursday, 15 August 2013 04:09
MADRID: World champions Spain recovered from their 3-0 trouncing at the hands of Brazil in the Confederations Cup final last month with a comfortable 2-0 friendly win over Ecuador in Guayaquil.
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla was the star performer as he crossed for Alvaro Negredo to turn home his seventh international goal with an outrageous backheeled finish on 24 minutes.
And Cazorla then got on the scoresheet himself to seal the win just after the hour mark as he drilled home from inside the area following a neat layoff from debutant Cristian Tello.
"For me it was a dream come true to play for Spain," Tello told Spanish TV station Telecinco.
"The game was very hard work. We know how difficult these teams are because physically they are very good and they make things difficult for you, but we have done very well."
Vicente del Bosque made six changes from the side that started against Brazil in Rio with Tello being joined by Raul Albiol, Javi Martinez, Cazorla, David Silva and Negredo.
However, it didn't take the visitors long to get into their stride as a wonderful combination of passes ended with Silva dragging a shot onto the post inside three minutes.
There was then an emotional stoppage in play as players and fans alike took part in a minute's applause for former Ecuadorian international Christian Benitez who died suddenly of heart failure earlier this month.
When the game got back underway Spain were denied by the woodwork once more as Andres Iniesta drove a low shot from the edge of the box off the outside of the post.
Moments later the hosts were left to rue a great chance to take the lead as Felipe Caicedo headed wastefully wide when unmarked at the back post.
And that miss was to prove costly minutes later when Maximo Banguera could only parry Cazorla's powerful shot from the edge of the area and the former Malaga man squared the rebound for Negredo to cheekily flick home.
Del Bosque introduced Jesus Navas, Thiago Alcantara and Fernando Llorente for Silva, Iniesta and Negredo at the break, but it was Ecuador who started brighter after the restart and they should have been level through Antonio Valencia.
Christian Noboa picked out the Manchester United winger perfectly with a dinked cross but his looping header over Victor Valdes came back off the post and rebounded to safety.
And just like with Caicedo's first-half opportunity, the South American's were made to pay within minutes as Tello played in Cazorla with a cute flick and he gave Banguera no chance with a low right-footed drive.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke and Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez were then also handed their full international debuts as they replaced Cazorla and Sergio Ramos respectively.
Llorente should have rounded off his return to the international fold with a third when he headed wide with six minutes remaining, but it mattered not as Del Bosque's men saw out the remaining moments to warm-up for next month's crucial World Cup qualifier against Finland in perfect fashion.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013