Spain make amends against Panama
Spain got back to winning ways with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Panama in an international friendly on Wednesday.
Vicente Del Bosque’s side travelled to Panama having saw their 24-match qualification winning run come to an end against France in their previous fixture, but a match against the Central American nation was just what the doctor ordered as they put in a dominant display.
Spain settled into the match very early, with their intricate passing in the centre of midfield allowing them to dominate possession and the first true threat came through David Villa.
The Barcelona forward picked up the ball just outside the area and powered a shot towards the top right corner but the attempt narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Spain didn't have to wait too long to open their account, however, and recorded their opening goal 16 minutes in.
Andres Iniesta showed guile outside the box to draw in the tackles of defenders before slipping a pass through the middle for Pedro, who clinically finished into the bottom right corner.
Panama did well to keep Spain at bay for the next 15 minutes or so, but they were undone again half-an-hour into the match thanks to another moment of magic from Iniesta.
The midfield maestro glided past four challenges before putting the ball on a plate for Villa who showed composure to side-foot the ball into the top right corner.
Spain looked to be enjoying the match, with moments of flair from the frontline sprinkled throughout. Pedro got in on the act again and grabbed his second goal just before half-time when he feigned to pass to Villa after receiving a defence-splitting pass from Mata.
The 25-year-old had duped Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to diving for the ball, allowing him to pass into the empty net.
Panama managed to up their game after the break, with more pace and intensity injected into their play.
Spain were given a scare on the hour mark when Rolando Escobar and Carlos Rodriguez linked up excellently down the right-hand side and took the ball into the box. A shot on goal looked likely but the visitors managed to scramble clear.
Debutant Markel Susaeta let Panama off the hook 10 minutes later when he picked up the ball after a lovely move involving Cesc Fabregas and Navas. The Athletic man had the goal at his mercy but somehow missed the target.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos sealed the victory for the world and European champions eight minutes from time when he curled a fantastic free kick into the top corner to make it 4-0.
The rout was completed two minutes later when Susaeta latched on to a Navas cross into the centre to easily tap home for a dream debut goal.
However, Panama City would be allowed the chance to erupt in cheers.
The hosts were awarded a penalty in the closing stages when Fabregas brought down substitute Nelson Barahona inside the area. Gomez stepped up to dispatch the penalty and send the crowd wild.