Spain 3-2 Saudi Arabia: Injury-Time Llorente Winner Saves La Roja's Blushes

The Athletic Bilbao forward's late header handed the win to Del Bosque's sloppy side...
Spain 3-2 Saudi Arabia - Line Up/Stats
World Cup 2010 Fixtures/Tables

An injury time winner from Fernando Llorente gave Spain a 3-2 win over a resolute Saudi Arabia side in this afternoon's World Cup warm-up match.

Osama Hawsawi have given the Saudis a shock lead, but goals from David Villa and Xabi Alonso edged La Roja into the lead. Al Namre's freak goal brought the score level again, before Llorente pounced to hand an Vicente del Bosque's off-colour side the win.

Spain began the match utilising the 4-2-3-1 formation that had been so successful in ousting France in their recent Paris friendly, with David Silva joining the Barcelona trio of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and David Villa in the offensive positions.

However, it was the Saudi’s who started the match stronger, and should have taken the lead as early as the eighth minute. Hazazi left Carles Puyol for dead before cutting the ball neatly across goal. Gerard Pique was flat-footed, and Al Numare got there first, rounding Iker Casillas in one fluent motion, but could only slam his shot into the side netting.

Spain did not learn from that near-miss, though, and The Green Falcons surprisingly, though deservedly, took the lead after 15 minutes. A corner from the right met the head of Hawsawi, who powered home past Casillas. The Real Madrid shot stopper had came out expected to punch clear, but was left floundering as Hawsawi showed more desire.

La Roja were lackadaisical and insipid for much of the first half, appearing as though the long domestic season had taken its toll, but Villa showed his alertness to draw the World Cup favourites level on the half-hour mark.

A beautiful, teasing cross from Iniesta cleared the heads of every Saudi defender, and 'El Guaje' was left unmarked to head into the top corner past the helpless Ali.

Indeed, Barcelona’s new addition should perhaps have added to his tally as the match meandered towards half time. Once again Iniesta was the architect, proving the former Valencia man with a slide-rule pass, but the striker’s radar was slightly off on this occasion, dragging his shot wide of the post.

After the interval, though, Vicente del Bosque’s side did not have to wait long to take the lead for the first time in the match. Iniesta had squandered a decent opportunity, but Xabi Alonso made no mistake on 57 minutes, pouncing on a loose ball at the edge of the area to skilfully place his shot into the corner of the net.

With the lead in place, Del Bosque then rang the changes, with the likes of Pedro and Jesus Navas given a run out, but incredibly the Saudi’s were not beaten yet, and drew the match level again with 17 minutes remaining.

Al Sahlawi attempted a snapshot from the edge of the area, but his shot deflected off the back of team-mate of Al Namare and completely wrong-footed Casillas. It was a bizarre goal, but one that the Saudis thoroughly enjoyed.

La Roja desperately attempted find a winner, with Joan Capdevila and Navas both coming close, but it looked as though their urgency would be in vain.

However, in injury time, Saudi Arabia were left devastated when Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente rose highest to head a Xabi Alonso corner into the net, with 'keeper Ali flailing.

Spain had clinched a win in the dying moments of play, but it was by no means a vintage performance from the European Champions.

The goals from Spain-Saudi Arabia can be seen on this video.

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