Euro 2016 Qualifiers: Spain Defeats Slovakia, Tops Group C

Spain’s Gerard Pique, right, Koke, center, and Sergio Busquets, left, leave the pitch at the end of a Group C Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Spain and Slovakia at the Nuevo Carlos Tartiere stadium in Oviedo, Spain, Saturday Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Vicente)
Spain’s Gerard Pique, right, Koke, center, and Sergio Busquets, left, leave the pitch at the end of a Group C Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Spain and Slovakia at the Nuevo Carlos Tartiere stadium in Oviedo, Spain, Saturday Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Vicente)

The Spanish national team took a major step towards qualifying for next summer’s European Championships when they defeated Slovakia 2-0 in Oviedo.

The game was vital for the leadership of the qualifying group as Spain went into the game with only one defeat in their qualifying campaign. That defeat was away to the Slovaks who had travelled to Spain with a 100 percent record, Xinhua news agency reported.

It soon became obvious that record was not going to last the 90 minutes in Oviedo as Jordi Alba headed Spain into an early lead: the smallest player on the pitch got in behind the Slovak defense to head Spain ahead in just the fifth minute following a fine pass from David Silva.

Spain’s Cesc Fabregas, right, fights for the ball against Slovakia's Jan Gregus during a Group C Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Spain and Slovakia at the Nuevo Carlos Tartiere stadium in Oviedo, Spain, Saturday Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Vicente)
Spain’s Cesc Fabregas, right, fights for the ball against Slovakia’s Jan Gregus during a Group C Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Spain and Slovakia at the Nuevo Carlos Tartiere stadium in Oviedo, Spain, Saturday Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Jose Vicente)

It was 2-0 to Spain on the half hour as Andres Iniesta slotted home a penalty after Diego Costa had been brought down in the visitors’ penalty area.

With a two-goal cushion the Spanish were able to play their traditional passing game and the midfield of Sergio Busquets, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, with the able support of Pedro and Costa virtually kept the ball to themselves until half time.

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