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Kosovo v Spain Live Commentary & Result, 08/09/2021, WC Qualification Europe

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50′ After a run of six losses in nine games, Kosovo have faced defeat just once in their previous six matches, winning four of those (D1).

49′ Almost! Laporte gets on the wrong side of Rashica as he races in behind once again and Laporte and Simon seem to get their actions mixed up and it almost allows Rashica to get through on goal. Another warning for Spain.

47′ Torres does brilliantly down the right wing, skipping past a couple of Kosovo defenders before being blocked in the box and the hosts clear the danger.

46′ The second half is under way!

Spain are once again dominating possession in these opening stages of the second half, but nothing in the final third and they haven’t yet tested Muric in goal.

Kosovo have shown that they can test the visitors, so they will be hopeful of getting an equaliser in the second half, especially if they can break quickly on the counter. Meanwhile Spain will be eager to get a second as soon as they can to give themselves some breathing space.

Spain lead 1-0 at the break, thanks to a a lovely strike by Fornals after 32 minutes, his first goal for his country. They’ve had to work hard for the lead as Kosovo played well in the early stages and caught Spain out a few times at the back, with Rashica and Muriqi getting in behind, before Rashani went close with a strike from the edge of the box. However, good link up play in the final third by Spain saw Fornals get into space in the box and he rolled his defender, before firing the ball into the back of the net.

45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME: KOSOVO 0-1 SPAIN

45′ Save! The ball falls nicely to Rashica on the edge of the box and the striker takes the shot on the volley, but it is straight at Simon and lacks pace, so the keeper comfortably gathers.

43′ Not too far away! Morata manages to get on the end of a corner from Soler and powers a header towards goal, but it flies just wide of the post.

42′ Decent effort! Soler fires a powerful effort towards goal and he manages to get it on target, but it’s too close to Muric, who tips it over the crossbar.

41′ There isn’t long left to play before the end of the first half, can Spain double their lead before the half-time whistle?

39′ The other game being played in Group B today is between Greece and Sweden and that is currently goalless, which is great for Spain, as it gives them some breathing space over Sweden.

37′ Rrahmani tries to find Bytyqi deep down the left flank, after the winger sneaked behind Llorente, but the flag goes up for offside and play is halted. That looked like a very tight call.

35′ Not too far away! Morata picks up the ball on the edge of the box and smashes an effort towards goal, but he gets slightly too much on it and the effort flies just over the crossbar.

34′ It’s all Spain now, they are pushing forward in search of another goal to double their lead before the break and Kosovo no longer seem likely to break forward on the counter.

32′ Morata hasn’t been involved much so far, but he showed great vision to flick the ball to Fornals for the goal, but his team-mate did the rest with a superb finish.

32′ GOAL! Fornals scores his first goal for Spain and he sends them ahead, it’s 1-0! Laporte finds Soler with a quick pass, who turns it to Morata and the striker then flicks it into the path of Fornals in the box, who rolls past his man and fires the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. Excellent move and a lovely finish by the West Ham man.

31′ We’re past the half an hour mark now and it remains goalless between Kosovo and Spain, with the hosts having the better chances so far, but Spain are starting to pile on the pressure.

29′ Wasted opportunity! Koke whips a free-kick into the box from a decent position and he should be picking out a team-mate, but instead it is too close to the keeper and Muric comes out and easily gathers in the air.

28′ Free-kick to Spain in a good position now after Morata is fouled by Fazliji around 25 yards out and it looks like Koke is going to step up to take it.

26′ Good counter! Kosovo break quickly up the pitch following a Spain free-kick, with Muric launching a long throw to Rashica, who races into the Spain half of the pitch and tries to find a team-mate deep inside the box. However, Fornals tracks back superbly and makes the block.

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25′ Spain are starting to keep the ball a lot better in the middle of the pitch, with the midfield three of Koke, Busquets and Soler controlling the game. Kosovo are starting to sit a bit deeper to soak up the pressure.

23′ Spain have not kept a clean sheet outside of their home country since October 2020, when they drew 0-0 with Portugal.

21′ Despite being top of Group B, Spain aren’t in control as they have already played five games, meanwhile Sweden have only played three and have won all of them, so Spain need Sweden to drop points in order to finish top.

19′ The home supporters are definitely enjoying this performance from their side, cheering every tackle and good piece of play in midfield. Cracking atmosphere so far.

17′ Spain are trying to build some momentum and get on the front foot, but they just can’t get the ball into the final third to try and test the Kosovo defence.

15′ CLOSE! Rashani cuts in from the right wing, gets it onto his left foot and fires a low strike towards goal, trying to find the bottom left corner of the net. However, it flies just inches wide of the post, with Simon scrambling across to try and meet it. Not too far away!

13′ Kosovo look pretty comfortable at the moment, they are seeing a lot of the ball themselves and are forcing Spain to sit back and soak up the pressure. Good start by the hosts.

11′ Spain need to make some changes at the back to stop these Kosovo breaks, as the hosts look like causing problems every time they go on the counter-attack.

9′ ANOTHER CHANCE! Kosovo are really opening Spain up at the back on the counter and Rashica races in behind once again! This time the striker gets into the box and tries to round Simon, but the keeper reads it superbly and makes a great save to his left to pounce on the ball and prevent the goal. However, this time the offside flag goes up, so it wouldn’t have counted anyway.

8′ CHANCE! Another warning for Spain as Rashica races in behind the visitors defence and once again gets away from the two centre-backs. The striker sprints forward and only has Simon to beat, however, his touch is too heavy and it allows Simon to come to the edge of the box and clear the danger.

7′ Spain are enjoying the early possession here as you would expect, keeping it well in midfield, but the hosts are pressing them high up the pitch and not allowing them much time or space.

5′ Almost! Loshaj plays a lovely ball in behind the Spain defence, with Muriqi sneaking past Laporte and he races into the box, before trying to square it back to a team-mate in the middle. However, Spain get players back and clear the danger.

3′ Torres does well down the right wing, taking on a couple of defenders and almost getting to the byline, before trying to drill a cross into the middle. However, it is well cut out and Spain win their first corner of the game, which comes to nothing.

The teams are out on the pitch and kick-off is just a few minutes away, stay tuned for all the match action!

Meanwhile Kosovo have made four changes to their starting line-up, from the side that drew with Greece, as Aliti, Halimi, Berisha and Kastrati all drop out of the team and they have been replaced by Fazliji, Rashani, Loshaj and Bytyqi.

Spain have made seven changes to their team, with only Simon, Laporte, Llorente and Torres keeping their places in the starting line-up. Morata and Fornals come into the team up front, alongside Torres in attack.

KOSOVO SUBS: Fidan Aliti, Samir Ujkani, Astrit Seljmani, Muharrem Jashari, Florent Muslija, Mirlind Kryeziu, Armend Thaci, Valon Berisha, Lirim Kastrati, David Domgjoni.

KOSOVO (4-2-2): Arijanet Muric; Florent Hadergjonaj, Amir Rrahmani, Betim Fazliji, Mergim Vojvoda; Elbasan Rashani, Ibrahim Dresevic, Florian Loshaj, Zymer Bytyqi; Vedat Muriqi, Milot Rashica.

SPAIN SUBS: David De Gea, Mikel Merino, Eric Garcia, Rodrigo, Jordi Alba, Abel Ruiz, Pablo Sarabia, Adama Traore, Raul Albiol, Robert Sanchez, Cesar Azpilicueta, Brais Mendez.

SPAIN (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Marcos Llorente, Aymeric Laporte, Inigo Martinez, Sergio Reguilon; Koke, Sergio Busquets, Carlos Soler; Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata, Pablo Fornals.

Meanwhile Kosovo are third on four points and they were beaten 1-0 by Georgia last week, before picking up a point against Greece on Sunday.

Spain bounced back from a 2-1 defeat against Sweden on Thursday with a 4-0 victory over Georgia at the weekend, which sees them top Group B with 10 points.

Hello and welcome to our LIVE match commentary of the World Cup qualifying game between Kosovo and Spain.



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