Old but gold as Aduriz seals Spain's big victory

Spaniard Vitolo celebrating his goal with team-mate Aritz Aduriz (right) during the World Cup qualifier against Macedonia. Spain won 4-0 to top Group G on goal difference, ahead of Italy.
Spaniard Vitolo celebrating his goal with team-mate Aritz Aduriz (right) during the World Cup qualifier against Macedonia. Spain won 4-0 to top Group G on goal difference, ahead of Italy.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BARCELONA • Aritz Aduriz became the oldest man to score for Spain in a football international, netting the final goal in their 4-0 win over Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying Group G match on Saturday.

At 35 years and 275 days, the Athletic Bilbao striker was 50 days older than the previous record holder Jose Maria Pena, who had set the mark in 1930 when scoring against Portugal.

Spain, trying out a new central defensive partnership of Nacho and Marc Bartra, had to overcome resistance from a dogged Macedonia side before running out easy winners with a strong second-half display to remain top of the group.

An own goal by Darko Velkovski broke the deadlock at the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada in the 34th minute after Julen Lopetegui's side survived a couple of early scares, and Vitolo doubled the lead in the 63rd minute.

Nacho Monreal and substitute Aduriz struck in the space of a minute late on to turn what at times was a testing encounter into a thrashing.

Spain top the group on goal difference with 10 points, level with second-placed Italy, who won 4-0 at Liechtenstein on Saturday.

Andrea Belotti scored twice as Italy made light work of Liechtenstein by scoring four first-half goals in Vaduz.

Ciro Immobile and Antonio Candreva were also on target as Italy, playing with a new 4-4-2 formation, sliced their way through the home team's defence time and again.

The Italians dominated in the second half too but the final pass repeatedly let them down to the clear frustration of coach Giampiero Ventura on the touchline.

Liechtenstein stay bottom of the group after their fourth straight defeat.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Old but gold as Aduriz seals Spain's big victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe