Alcacer scores twice as Spain thump Wales 4-1 on Principality Stadium return


Paco Alcacer, who scored twice, is on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Barcelona

Wales endured a chastening return to the Principality Stadium as they were outplayed by Spain.

As impressive as the visitors were, they were the beneficiaries of dismal Welsh defending which allowed Paco Alcacer to score two well-taken goals either side of a header from Sergio Ramos, who was left inexplicably unmarked from a free-kick.

Fortunately for the hosts, the usual raft of substitutions slowed the tempo in the second half.

Spain seemed content to treat this friendly fixture like a glorified training session, though Marc Bartra did glance in a fourth goal.

There was at least some consolation for Wales – in a stadium at which they were playing for the first time since 2011 – when Sam Vokes headed in from David Brooks’ fabulous cross but that was a rare positive.

Although they were faced with formidable opposition here, Wales had precious little to encourage them before Tuesday’s Nations League trip to the Republic of Ireland.

Spain stroll to another big win

AC Milan midfielder Suso had a role in all four of Spain’s goals

Ryan Giggs’ sixth match in charge – against a Spanish side who had not lost inside 90 minutes since Euro 2016 – was always likely to be his most challenging yet.

The former world and European champions, under a new manager in Luis Enrique, are looking to heal the wounds of a tempestuous World Cup campaign, which started with his predecessor Julen Lopetegui sacked on the eve of the tournament and ended in the second round with a penalty shootout defeat against hosts Russia.

However disappointing that campaign may have been, though, Spain’s results either side of that competition – a 6-1 friendly thrashing of Argentina and a 6-0 demolition of Croatia in the Nations League – suggested their struggles in Russia were a mere blip.

That view was supported by this authoritative display, even if Enrique’s players were given an armchair ride by their ramshackle opponents.

Rodri, Atletico Madrid’s 22-year-old winning only his third cap, impressed in a holding midfield position where he may one day succeed the great Sergio Busquets, while Valencia left-back Jose Gaya also caught the eye in his second appearance.

It was in attack, however, where Spain really tore Wales apart.

Suso had a hand in all four goals, with Wales unable to clear his eighth-minute cross, allowing Saul Niguez to lay the ball off to Alcacer, who swept the ball into the top corner.

It was then a free-kick from the former Liverpool forward that reached Ramos, who, despite his fine scoring record from set-pieces, was allowed the freedom of Cardiff to head into the bottom corner.

When Alcacer seized on a mishit Harry Wilson clearance to volley in Spain’s third goal after less than hour, the home fans may have wondered if they would find themselves on the receiving end of a drubbing heavier than Croatia’s.

But they were saved major embarrassment in a low-key second half, in which Suso hit the bar with a curling effort before delivering the corner which substitute centre-back Bartra headed high into the net.

More to follow.

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