La Liga

Villa Double Leads Spain To Victory

Two second half goals from David Villa gave Spain a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic.

Michal Bílek’s team had led the UEFA EURO 2012 Group I qualifier thanks to a crashing Jaroslav Plašil drive just before the half-hour, but Villa chose the most appropriate and spectacular manner to eclipse Raúl Gonzàlez’s goal tally. His second, a 73rd-minute penalty, came soon after the FC Barcelona man had set the record outright with his 45th strike in 72 appearances.

Spain was very unimpressive in the first half, with David Villa looking very isolated against the Czech defence. Then after soaking up Spain’s pressure, the Czechs took a shock lead when Jaroslav Plašil shot from 30 metres beat Iker Casillas at his left-hand post.

Spain piled on the pressure and while Petr Cech had to make a couple of saves from Villa, he was never seriously tested.

That changed in the second half when Vicente Del Bosque took off first Xabi Alonso and then Joan Capdevila so that Fernando Torres and Santi Cazorla could increase Spain’s firepower. Andrés Iniesta dropped into a familiar midfield role and suddenly Spain started to look like the World champions again.

It was Iniesta’s pass in the 69th minute that helped Villa break the record as he turned past past Hubník and fired in a shot passed Čech. Then four minutes later Spain were ahead. Iniesta was felled by Jan Rezek and from the spot Villa crashed his effort into the inside panel of the Czech goal.

With his 45th and 46th goals for Spain, Villa passes Raul in the goalscoring charts. Raul scored his 44 goals in 102 matches, but Villa has outdone him in just 72 appearances.