Silva's late goal gives Spain 1-0 win vs. Colombia

David Silva's late goal gave Spain a 1-0 win over Colombia on Wednesday to end the World Cup champion's three-game winless streak in international friendlies.

Updated: February 10, 2011 18:43 IST
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Madrid: David Silva's late goal gave Spain a 1-0 win over Colombia on Wednesday to end the World Cup champion's three-game winless streak in international friendlies.

Silva darted into the area to deftly redirect Jesus Navas' center past goalkeeper David Ospina with four minutes to play.

The South Americans created better opportunities at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, with Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas making stops from Giovanni Moreno, Pablo Armero and Carlos Sanchez.

David Villa had the host's clearest chance in the 15th minute but found the post before sending the rebound wide of the open goal.

Spain came into the match on the heels of friendly defeats to Portugal and Argentina. It drew 1-1 at Mexico before that.

While Spain is perfect in European Championship qualifying with three victories, it has struggled in friendlies with the 4-0 defeat to Portugal its most lopsided loss in 48 years.

"The most important thing was to win the game," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said when asked about the team's performance. "Whether we played well or not, the effort by the players was there."

The near capacity 80,000 crowd was equally divided as the two countries met for only the second time, and the first in 30 years. They drew 1-1 in a friendly played in Bogota in 1981.

While Spain controlled possession, Colombia would have been ahead after 45 minutes if not for Casillas.

"It was an intense game," Del Bosque said. "In the first half Colombia was very well organized and we couldn't find our way."

In the 13th, Xavi Hernandez uncharacteristically lost possession and Moreno pounced in the area but Casillas cut down the angle before stopping the well-struck shot with his body.

Sergio Ramos strayed forward from his right back position throughout and was caught out by Armero's run into the area in the 45th, as the Colombia player cut back to beat Gerard Pique and then another defender for a shot. But a diving Casillas deflected the Colombian's rising effort over the goal.

"We were clear about how we had to play against a rival that loves to have the ball. But it's tiring to play without the ball," said Colombia coach Hernan Dario Gomez, who applauded his team's effort but not its poor finishing. "Colombia has to score goals and because we didn't, we leave frustrated."

Just before that, Ospina saved a curler from Andres Iniesta, who had set up Villa for Spain's best chance of the half.

Iniesta played Villa's run into the area perfectly and the Spain striker rounded Ospina but found the near post. Villa managed to gather the rebound but then shot wide across the face of the open goal.

Iniesta's runs drove Spain forward as it attacked after the restart, with Fernando Torres coming on in place of Villa in the 56th.

But another giveaway nearly cost Spain in the 64th as substitute Juan Cuadrado stole away from substitute Alvaro Arbeloa to lead a Colombia counterattack, Cuadrado eventually firing just wide of the near post.

World Cup hero Iniesta left to a standing ovation for Navas in the 69th but the South Americans continued to threaten as Casillas got his hands up in the 80th to stop Sanchez's long-range drive.

Spain looked rattled and Abel Aguilar fired a shot just wide of the top corner in the 82nd before Silva's goal provided relief.

"They scored a goal when we had our opportunities," Gomez said.

Ospina saved from substitute Fernando Llorente before Carlos Sanchez and Hugo Rodallega nearly spoiled the result with injury time efforts that nearly found the net.

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