UEFA World Cup qualifying: Italy edges Macedonia, Spain eases past Albania

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One of Europe’s top sides needed a late strike to get past a surprisingly competitive Macedonia side.

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Ciro Immobile’s brace in the final quarter hour helped Italy rescued a victory against Macedonia during their 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon.

Immobile scored in the 75th and 91st minutes for the Italians, which helped them avoid a potentially disastrous result.

Despite Andrea Belotti’s first-half finish for the Azzurri, it was Macedonia that opened the second half on the front foot. Goals from Ilija Nestoroski and Ferhan Hasani handed the hosts the lead within a span of three minutes, before Immobile rescued the Italians.

Spain pulled off a 2-0 win against Albania behind second-half finishes from Diego Costa and Nolito on the road.

Nacho Monreal played a quick pass to Nolito on left wing for Spain’s second in the 63rd minute, which puts La Furia Roja back atop Group G on seven points. The Manchester City attacker made a brilliant move to cut back against a defender, before slotting his effort past goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.

Following a crucial mistake from the Albania backline, Diego Costa gave the Spaniards the advantage after halftime when David Silva played a simple ball across the center of the box for the Chelsea striker to smash home.

Elsewhere around Europe:

Group D

Wales 1-1 Georgia

Moldova 1-3 Republic of Ireland

Serbia 3-2 Austria

Group G

Israel 2-1 Liechtenstein

Group I

Iceland 2-0 Turkey

Finland 0-1 Croatia

Ukraine 3-0 Kosovo