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')

Live Commentary: Spain 5-1 Macedonia - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the Euro 2016 qualification Group C clash in Valencia, where Spain beat Macedonia 5-1.

Spain welcomed Macedonia to Valencia on Monday evening in their opening qualifier for Euro 2016.

La Roja took a two-goal lead inside 17 minutes though Sergio Ramos (penalty) and 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.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

7.16pmEvening all! Sports Mole's Euro 2016 qualification coverage continues from Valencia as Spain welcome Macedonia. La Roja are somewhat short of confidence following a disappointing World Cup, but remain the powerhouse of European football. Macedonia, however, have never before qualified for a major international tournament. Right, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news.


SPAIN: Casillas; Juanfran, Ramos, Albiol, Alba; Busquets, Koke, Fabregas; Pedro, Alcacer, Silva

MACEDONIA: Pacovski; Ristovski, Cucili, Mojsov, Alioski; Sikov; Ibraimi, Spirovski, Trajkovski, Abdurahimi; Jahovic

7.22pmSo there we have it. As expected, Valencia striker Paco Alcacer comes into the XI for his first international start in place of the injured Diego Costa. Iker Casillas also starts between the sticks, with David de Gea named on the bench. Only four players remain from last week's friendly defeat to France – Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Koke and Cesc Fabregas. Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal pulled out with an injury earlier this morning, leaving Atletico Madrid's Juanfran to start at right-back.

7.25pmMacedonia, meanwhile, will seemingly line up in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Goalkeeper Tome Pacovski will captain the national team, while there are also starts for Agim Ibraimi and Besart Abdurahimi in midfield. Adis Jahovic will lead the line, while Stefan Ristovski, who plays for Parma in Serie A, also starts.


7.29pmSpain entered this summer's World Cup as the holders and reigning European champions, but failed to make it out of the group stages in Brazil – exiting a group that included Chile and Netherlands. La Roja are the holders of the European Championships after beating Italy 4-0 in the final of the competition.

7.32pmSpain also lost their last friendly match – a 1-0 defeat to France last week. That result means that La Roja have won just one of their last four games in all competitions, losing three times in the process. They are, however, unbeaten in 35 World Cup and European Championship qualification matches, which is the size of the task facing Macedonia this evening. The atmosphere is building inside the stadium here.

7.35pmIt is 27 matches since Spain last lost a competitive match on home soil, with Greece the winners in June 2003. La Roja also boast a strong record against Macedonia, winning all three of the previous meetings between the two nations and failing to concede a single goal in the process.

7.38pmMacedonia, meanwhile, have won just one of their last five games in all competitions. Their last match was a friendly against China in June, with that fixture ending in a goalless draw. Macedonia were once ranked by FIFA at 46 in the world (October 2008), but have now dropped to 76. They have also failed to qualify for any international tournament in their history.

7.40pmAs part of the 100-year anniversary of football in Macedonia, the national team faced Spain in a friendly in 2009. Goran Pandev handed Macedonia a 2-0 lead at the interval, but Spain responded with three goals in the second period. Right, just about time for my prediction this evening...

7.43pmPREDICTION: I expect Spain to win this evening that is for certain, but I don't think they are going to have it all their own way. I can see Macedonia frustrating the European champions for long spells, but I am backing Spain to come through 2-0 winners at the Mestalla.

7.44pmThe pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium. It is a new era for Spain and Del Bosque.

0 minThe pitch is not in the best condition this evening it must be said. You just get the feeling that Macedonia need to ride out the opening 10 or 15 minutes here. It is Spain that get the action underway.

2 minAs expected, Spain have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes, but Macedonia are pressing high up the pitch. Silva slides a pass into Alcacer, who collects inside the Macedonia box, but his low cross is cleared by Shikov. Bright start from the European champions in Valencia.

4 minSpain continue to press as Alba drives down the left before curling a cross towards the far post, but there are no takers in a red shirt. Macedonia just cannot keep the ball at the moment and the pressure comes straight back through Silva, who combines with Alba once again down the left.

6 minSAVE! Macedonia have a free kick outside the Spain box as Ramos dives into a late challenge with Ibraimi, fouling the attacker in the process. The resulting set piece is struck by Ibraimi towards the top corner, but Casillas is across his goal to make the save. Super free kick and super save.

8 minSpain continue to threaten in the final third, but a big patch of water on the pitch is harming the home side's work in the middle of the park. On first glance it appeared that the pitch was in good condition, but there are a number of patches in the Macedonia half - the ball just isn't moving across the ground.

10 minCHANCE! Just about Spain's best chance of the match as Fabregas finds some space inside the Macedonia box before curling one towards the top corner, but his effort is just wide of the post.

12 minSpain have a free kick in a dangerous position as Cuculi brings Fabregas to the ground with a poor challenge. The resulting set piece is delivered by Silva towards the far post, but Ramos cannot make contact. Brilliant floated cross from the attacker, but Ramos just could not rise at the vital moment.

14 minWell, 14 minutes on the clock and we are still goalless in Valencia. The tempo of the match has just been harmed in the last few minutes due to a number of late challenges. However, the referee has not yet deemed it necessary to bring a card from his pocket.


15 minBOOKING! Spain have a penalty and Mojsov has a yellow card for bringing Silva to the ground inside the box. It was poor from the defender. Ramos will take, yes Ramos...

15 minGOAL! Spain 1-0 Macedonia (Ramos, pen)

16 minOh my word what a penalty. Ramos steps up and chips his effort straight down the middle of the goal. Brilliant, just brilliant from the Real Madrid defender. Lovely to see.

17 minGOAL! Spain 2-0 Macedonia (Alcacer)

17 minSpain have their second of the match as Juanfran finds Alcacer and the Valencia forward turns home from close range. The 21-year-old has scored on his first competitive start for La Roja.

19 minYou have to fear for Macedonia from this position. They started quite well, but have been hit by two quick-fire goals from the European champions. What a moment for Alcacer on his home ground as well. Macedonia still have 70 minutes of this match to play and they trail by two goals.

21 minMacedonia just cannot keep the ball at the moment as Spain continue to dominate possession in the final third. Pedro drives down the left before delivering towards the edge of the box, but Mojsov is on hand to clear. Another for Spain would surely mean curtains for Macedonia, if it isn't already.

23 minHere is the penalty from Ramos...

25 minJuanfran is playing as a right winger for Spain at the moment as the Atletico defender collects a pass from Fabregas before delivering once more, but Alcacer cannot make contact at the near post. Moments before, Mojsov just managed to poke clear following a period of sustained La Roja possession.

25 minBOOKING! Abdurahimi goes in the book for Macedonia for simulation.

27 minNot too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last few minutes, but Macedonia have started to see more of the ball in the final third. Spain are so comfortable in defensive areas, however, and look a threat each time they break in numbers. Still 2-0 La Roja with 27 minutes on the clock.


28 minMacedonia have a penalty as Trajkovski is brought to the ground by Juanfran inside the box.

28 minGOAL! Spain 2-1 Macedonia (Ibraimi, pen)

29 minBrilliant penalty from Ibraimi as the attacker sends his effort into the bottom corner. Game on!

31 minDid I write Macedonia off too soon?! They are right back in this match. In truth, they have deserved it. Spain started to coast after moving 2-0 ahead and the visitors are currently enjoying their best spell.

33 minAnother half-chance for the away side as drives at the Spain defence before curling an effort towards the far corner, but his effort just moved wide of the post. Very good spell for the visitors at the moment.

34 minSAVE! Spain come close to their third as Pedro drives into the Macedonia box before placing one towards the bottom corner, but the Macedonia goalkeeper is on hand to make a brilliant save.

36 minCHANCE! Another wonderful chance for the home side as Alcacer beats the offside trap before collecting a pass from Silva inside the box, but Mojsov just does enough to clear the danger.

36 minSAVE! Pacovski makes another brilliant save to deny Alcacer, who had again found room inside the Macedonian box. Busy few minutes for the stopper!

36 minBOOKING! Koke is booked for a really poor challenge on Abdurahimi.

38 minSpain look a little uncomfortable in defensive areas at the moment, with the visitors now forcing the issue with numbers and quality in the final third. You just get the feeling, however, that Macedonia need to stay in touch before the interval. They simply cannot afford to concede a third.

40 minSpain threaten down the left as Silva combines with Fabregas, but Cuculi is on hand to clear at the vital moment. Macedonia are down the other end with Abdurahimi, but Ramos is across to clear for Spain.

43 minIbraimi remains the main outlet for Macedonia as the attacker delivers a dangerous cross into the Spain box, but Ramos manages to clear once again. La Roja are not too comfortable in defensive areas at the moment as the away side threaten with a corner, but eventually Koke manages to clear downfield to Alcacer.

44 minHalf-chance for Spain as Pedro meets a bouncing ball inside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. It has been a sensational half of football in Valencia it must be said.

45 minMojsov looks to have a real problem for Macedonia here as he leaves the field on a stretcher.

45 minPanic over... Mojsov returns.

45 minSAVE! Wonderful chance for Spain to score their third as Silva breaks into the box, but the Macedonian goalkeeper is on hand to make another brilliant save. Top-class from the stopper.

45 min+2CHANCE! Another chance for Spain as Alcacer meets a loose ball inside the box, but somehow Shikov manages to divert the striker's effort over the crossbar. What an opportunity.

45 min+2GOAL! Spain 3-1 Macedonia (Busquets)

45 min+3Spain have their third on the brink of the interval as Busquets's deflected effort nestles into the bottom corner. It so harsh on Macedonia.

45 min+3HALF-TIME: Spain 3-1 Macedonia

8.36pmWow, what a half of football in Valencia. Spain led 2-0 inside 17 minutes following goals from Ramos and Alcacer, but Ibraimi responded from the penalty spot for the visitors 11 minutes later. Spain had their third on the brink of the interval, however, with a long-range deflected strike from Busquets.

8.41pmSTATS! Spain have had more of the ball with 66% possession, while they have had 15 attempts - six of which have been on target. Macedonia, meanwhile, have managed just one attempt on target. It has also been a feisty half in terms of challenges, with three players already in the book.

8.46pmBENCH WATCH! Spain have a number of attacking options on their bench this evening in the shape of Cazorla, El-Haddadi, Garcia and Isco. Meanwhile, Macedonia have options in the shape of Demiri, Hasani and Radeski. Both managers have the personal available to influence the match.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that another for Spain would end this contest. Right, Macedonia get the second 45 minutes underway.

47 minSUB! One change for Macedonia at the interval with Demiri replacing Alioski.

48 minCHANCE! Macedonia have a glorious chance as Jahovic drives into the Spain box before attempting to curl one into the bottom corner, but Casillas makes a fine save with his left leg.

49 min

50 minAlba attempts to force the issue for Spain after breaking into the Macedonia half, but Mojsov is on hand to clear the danger. Spain have a free kick moments later, which Koke delivers towards the far post, but once again the danger is cleared. Still 3-1 Spain with 50 minutes on the clock at the Mestalla.

50 minGOAL! Spain 4-1 Macedonia (Silva)

51 minSpain have their fourth of the match as Silva combines with Alba before drilling his effort into the bottom corner. Brilliant finish from the Manchester City attacker.

53 minSpain look capable of scoring every time they go forward at the moment, with Silva coming to life in the early stages of the second period. Macedonia remain a threat on the counter, but look shaky at the back.

55 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but Spain are in control of the possession. La Roja have not been particularly superb tonight, but lead 4-1, which will please Del Bosque. Alba drives a low cross into the Macedonia box, but Alcacer cannot make contact.

57 minSUB! Spain make their first change as Isco replaces Alcacer.

58 minCROSSBAR! Spain come close to scoring their fifth as Alba finds Fabregas inside the box, but the Chelsea midfielder's effort smashes against the crossbar. So close to number five.

60 minMacedonia just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as Spain continue to dominate the ball, with Juanfran and Alba both playing as wingers for the home team. Barcelona starlet El-Haddadi is warming up on the sidelines. Will we see the 19-year-old tonight?

62 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Silva cuts inside before firing one towards the far corner, but his effort just moves wide of the post. Number five seems on its way for Spain.

64 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, with Macedonia managing to stem the flow with a period of possession. In truth, this match is over, as a contest that is.

64 minSUB! Macedonia make their second change as Radeski replaces Spirovski.

66 minAlba continues to cause problems down the left as the Barcelona defender clips a cross into Isco, but Mojsov is on hand to clear at the vital moment. Macedonia are down the other end with Abdurahimi moments later, but the attacker can only pass his effort into the arms of the waiting Casillas.

68 minCHANCE! Pedro comes close to scoring Spain's fifth after meeting a cross from Juanfran, but his effort is just wide of the post. Another chance for the Barcelona attacker.

68 minSUB! Spain make their second change as Bartra replaces Ramos.

70 minAnother half-chance for Spain as Isco finds Silva, who touches a pass into Fabregas, but the danger is cleared at the vital moment. How on earth have Spain not added a fifth?

73 minJust a reminder that both managers have one permitted change remaining and it is expected that both will look to their bench in the final 15 minutes or so. It has been a successful night for Spain, despite a couple of nervy moments in defensive areas. I also have a feeling that the scoring is not finished.

75 minCHANCE! It is brilliant work by Silva and Pedro as the pair combine inside the box before the latter attempts to find the bottom corner, but a challenge is made at the final moment.

76 minSUB! Macedonia make their final change as Velkovski replaces Abdurahimi.

78 minSUB! Really special moment here as Munir El-Haddadi enters for Spain in place of Koke. What a rise it has been for the 19-year-old talent.

80 minCHANCE! Macedonia come close to their second as Ibraimi curls one towards the top corner, but Casillas is on hand to make a sensational save. Brilliant from the Real Madrid stopper.

82 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, with Macedonia enjoying a spell of possession inside the Spain half. Still around 10 minutes of football remaining in Valencia.

84 minBOOKING! Fabregas goes in the book for Spain for a late challenge on Trajkovski.

85 minEl-Haddadi has shown some lovely touches since entering the field, but the pace of the match has dropped in the last few minutes. It remains 4-1 to the home side with 85 minutes on the clock.

87 minHalf-chance for the away side as Trajkovski bundles his way into the Spain box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Casillas is on hand to make the save. Good pressure from the visitors.

89 minPossession football from Spain in the latter stages of this Group C contest. Macedonia can be pleased with their contribution to this match, but La Roja have just been too good in the final third.

90 min+1

90 min+1We are into the first of three additional minutes in Valencia.

90 min+1GOAL! Spain 5-1 Macedonia (Pedro)

90 min+2Spain have their fifth as Pedro produces a brilliant chip inside the box to find the top corner. The onrushing goalkeeper closed the angle, but the Barcelona attacker found an excellent finish.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Spain 5-1 Macedonia

9.39pmSo there we have it. A comfortable night for Spain as the European champions open their Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a 5-1 win over Macedonia. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action in Valencia. Good evening!

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Valencia's forward Paco Alcacer celebrates his goal with Valencia's midfielder Fede Cartabia during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 football match Valencia CF vs PFC Ludogorets Razgrad at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on March 20, 2014
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