Spain won 2-0 in Albania on Sunday evening to remain top of World Cup qualification group G, tied on points with Italy, who survived a scare in Macedonia, coming from behind to win 3-2.
Three Barça players started the game at the Loro Boriçi Stadium in Shkodër; Gerard Piqué and Sergio Busquets, who played the full ninety as the duo of centre backs, plus Andrés Iniesta, who was on for the first 77 minutes before being replaced by Isco with the win already as good as secure. Sergi Roberto watched the game from the bench while Jordi Alba was out after sustaining an injury against Italy.
The visitors dominated the first half, but their efforts went unrewarded. Vitolo of Sevilla had what was probably the best chance saved the Albanian keeper, while Chelsea’s Diego Costa failed to find the target with a fine header.
Spain’s impressive display finally bore fruit after 53 minutes when a Berisha error led to Silva setting up Diego Costa to tap home into an empty net. Ten minutes later, former Barça man Nolito doubled the lead and the three points never looked in doubt from that moment on.
In the other game in the group, Israel beat Liechtenstein 2-1 to join Albania on six points, one fewer than Spain and Italy.