Goals from Pablo Fornals and Ferran Torres earned Spain a 2-0 victory away to Kosovo in World Cup qualifying Group B on Wednesday and dragged it back into automatic qualification contention.
Fornals produced a fine near-post finish from the angle on 32 minutes after smart build-up play from Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata.
Spain dominated the ball for large swathes of the game, but was almost undone on numerous occasions as their high defensive line was exploited by the host.
It was indebted to profligate finishing, in particular from Vedat Muriqi, who ran clear on goal but put his shot wide of Unai Simon's left-hand post.
Simon then almost gifted the host an equaliser as he raced out of his box to meet a long ball over the top, only to get in a muddle with Inigo Martinez.
The Athletic Bilbao stopper was just able to scramble back and stop Florian Loshaj's goalbound effort to keep Spain ahead.
It proved a crucial save as Torres went on to seal the win in the 90th minute from a counter-attack. After initially being flagged offside, the goal was awarded following a VAR check.
"It was a tough fought game right until the end," defender Aymeric Laporte said.
"Getting that second at the end was liberating in difficult conditions. The pitch was a tricky to play our football on.
"They've got their own weapons, and some quick forwards, but the important thing is we got the result. We need to win all our remaining games if we want to top the group."
Luis Enrique's side moved clear at the top of the group on 13 points from six games, four ahead of Sweden who has played two matches fewer.
Greece defeated Sweden 2-1 on Wednesday to move into third place on six points.
Praet scores for Belgium in a narrow win over Belarus
Dennis Praet’s first-half goal secured a narrow 1-0 away win for Belgium over Belarus in Kazan on Wednesday to move it closer to World Cup qualification.
The midfielder’s 33rd-minute strike maintained Belgium's unbeaten run in Group E as it advanced to 16 points, nine points ahead of the Czech Republic, who has played one game fewer, and Wales, who hastwo games in hand.
Praet steered a snap effort wide of Belarus goalkeeper Sergei Chernik after being teed up by a short pass from Alexis Saelemaekers, two minutes after Michy Batshuayi had the ball in the net but his effort was ruled offside.
Belgium, top of the FIFA rankings, scored eight goals against Belarus at the start of the World Cup qualifiers in March but this time looked tired after a third game in six days, having beaten Estonia and the Czech Republic in their previous two qualifiers.
It was without suspended Romelu Lukaku and Jan Vertonghen and elected to spare Thibaut Courtois, Yannick Carrasco and Axel Witsel the long trip to Russia, where Belarus was forced to host the game because of flight sanctions.
Captain Eden Hazard started on the bench and only came on after an hour but failed to provide the expected spark. His free kick four minutes from fulltime, however, did force a sharp save out of Chernik.
Belarus, who did not trouble Belgium in the game, has now lost four of five qualifiers and sits second from bottom in the group.
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