Sep 8, 2014 at 7.45pm UK
Ramos (15' pen.), Alcacer (17'), Busquets (45'), Silva (50'), Pedro (91')
Koke (36'), Fabregas (84')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Ibraimi (28' pen.)
Ristovski (14'), Abdurahimi (25')

Match Analysis: Spain 5-1 Macedonia

Match Analysis: Spain 5-1 Macedonia
© Getty Images
Sports Mole dissects the action as Spain open their Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a 5-1 win over Macedonia.

Spain opened their Euro 2016 Group C qualification campaign with a 5-1 win over Macedonia this evening.

La Roja took a two-goal lead inside 17 minutes though a Sergio Ramos penalty and first Spain goal for Paco Alcacer.

Macedonia responded 11 minutes later through a Agim Ibraimi spot kick, but Spain had their third on the stroke of the interval when Sergio Busquets found the bottom corner.

The home side had their fourth through David Silva early in the second period, before Pedro made it five late on.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of football in Valencia.

Match statistics

Shots: 23
On target: 8
Possession: 62%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 7

Shots: 10
On target: 7
Possession: 38%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 11

Was the result fair?

In truth, Spain deserved to run out comfortable winners this evening due to their dominance at the Mestalla. Macedonia had their moments, especially before and after they found the back of the net, but La Roja scored a vital third on the stroke of the interval which all but ended the contest. The second period was a slight non-event for long spells, with Silva's strike early in the half ending any chance that Macedonia had of a surprise comeback. The visitors did not let anyone down this evening - they just struggled to match a fluent and classy La Roja outfit.

Spain's performance

There is no question that there was pressure on Spain this evening following their disappointing showing at the World Cup and 1-0 friendly defeat to France last week. The European champions responded in spectacular fashion, however, by producing a dominant performance at the Mestalla. Two quick-fire goals allowed the home side to move 2-0 ahead, but they gave away a penalty 11 minutes later when Juanfran brought Aleksandar Trajkovski to the ground. Ibraimi stepped up to hand Macedonia a lifeline, but Busquets's long-range effort in first-half stoppage time proved vital. Spain's fourth arrived early in the second period through Silva and in truth, they could have made it seven or eight due to the chances created. Head coach Vicente del Bosque was without a number of his usual XI this evening, but those handed a chance certainly made a positive impression. There are still plenty of areas for Del Bosque and his coaches to work on, but it was a really positive display.

Macedonia's performance

Macedonia managed to ride out the early stages in Valencia, but they found themselves 2-0 behind after 17 minutes courtesy of two quick-fire goals from Ramos and Alcacer. It appeared that Spain would rack up a cricket score in the first half, but Macedonia played their best football during a 10-minute spell in the first period, which brought their goal from the penalty spot. The visitors continued to cause Spain problems as the half developed, but they were not able to stay within one goal in the latter stages of the first period, with Busquets making it 3-1 late in the half. In fairness, Macedonia responded in the early stages of the second half and might have had their second through Adis Jahovic, but Spain stopper Iker Casillas was on hand to make a fine save. Moments later, the home side had their fourth and the match was over. While a heavy defeat is not the ideal start to their qualification campaign, positives can be taken by head coach Bosko Gjurovski.

Sports Mole's man of the match

David Silva: Spain have lost a number of experienced performers over the last few months, meaning that the likes of Silva need to take on more responsibility around the younger players. That was certainly the case this evening, with the Manchester City attacker in brilliant form. He scored his side's fourth in the early stages of the second period, before setting up Pedro with a beautiful pass in the latter stages. Silva also won his side's penalty early on.

Biggest gaffe

It was not a match short of major incidents, with two penalties and a number of rash challenges. However, this particular award is going to Spain defender Juanfran for his challenge which led to Macedonia's solitary goal. Having lost his balance inside the box, the right-back should have allowed Trajkovski to advance, but the experienced defender brought the attacker to the ground with a late challenge. It was poor defending from a player that should have known better.

Referee performance

It was a busy evening for referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos. The 35-year-old issued two penalties in the first period, but both were the correct decision, with Daniel Mojsov bringing Silva to the ground for the first and Juanfran fouling Trajkovski for the second. The Greek also issued four yellow cards - none of which were particularly controversial. The official allowed the play to flow in the correct areas and was not keen on stopping play unnecessarily. Overall, a solid performance.

What next?

Spain: La Roja's next Group C clash is away to Slovakia on October 9.

Macedonia: Macedonia will attempt to put their first points on the board when they host Luxembourg on the same evening as Spain's trip to Slovakia.

Paco Alcacer celebrates with David Silva after scoring Spain's 2nd goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C Qualifier between Spain and FYR of Macedonia at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia on September 8, 2014
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Result: Spain ease to win over Macedonia
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