2022 World Cup qualifiers: Dani Olmo's stoppage-time winner saves Spain

Striker Dani Olmo scored a stoppage-time winner as Spain edged past Georgia in 2022 World Cup qualifying Group B.

Published : Mar 29, 2021 08:43 IST

Spain, which hosts Kosovo on Wednesday, drew its opening qualifier 1-1 at home to Greece.
Spain, which hosts Kosovo on Wednesday, drew its opening qualifier 1-1 at home to Greece.

Spain, which hosts Kosovo on Wednesday, drew its opening qualifier 1-1 at home to Greece.

Spain striker Dani Olmo snatched a 2-1 win away to Georgia in its World Cup qualifier on Sunday with a stoppage-time strike from outside the area to kick-start his side's efforts to qualify for Qatar 2022 after a sluggish start.

Georgia, ranked 89th in the world, 83 places below Spain, thrilled the 15,000 fans in the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena when 20-year-old winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia fired it ahead two minutes before halftime after it coasted past the defence.

Spain was on course for its first defeat in a World Cup qualifier in 28 years until Ferran Torres levelled in the 56th, sliding in to send a Jordi Alba cross into the roof of the net after Alvaro Morata had failed to connect with the ball.


Luis Enrique's side pressed for a winner right until the end and finally found one when Olmo let fly from long range and although goalkeeper Giorgi Loria got a hand to the shot, it dropped just under the crossbar and into the net.

Georgia's Levan Shengelia was then sent off moments before the final whistle blew to signal the first victory for Spain in Group B after it drew 1-1 at home to Greece last Thursday.

Crowds return

"Our opponents usually sit very deep against us because we like to have the ball and we need to work more on opening up defences like this and we knew we just had to try and get the win by any means possible," said Ferran.

"We knew we'd have to suffer today. We had the fans against us, although it was beautiful to play in front of a crowd again. The important thing is we worked hard until the end and got the three points."


The 2010 World Cup winner left captain Sergio Ramos out of the team after he only completed 45 minutes against Greece, while defender Pedro Porro made his international debut and youngsters Pedri and Bryan Gil earned their first starts after appearing as substitutes in the draw with Greece.

As expected, Spain monopolised possession but had little to show for it in the first half despite having 75 per cent of the ball and making 400 passes, managing one shot on target when Ferran found a gap in Georgia's crowded defence but only tested keeper Loria.

Georgia then crafted a spectacular team move to take the lead, Kvaratskhelia controlling a through ball from Otar Kiteishvili before confidently slotting into the far bottom corner beyond the reach of Spain keeper Unai Simon.


Spain coach Luis Enrique reacted immediately after the break by introducing Olmo and defender Inigo Martinez, while the experienced Thiago Alcantara came on moments before they drew level.

Spain was far more direct after the break but still struggled to negotiate its way past Georgia's disciplined defence, only getting the goal it craved when Olmo took matters into his own hands with his long-distance strike.


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