Football news - Debutant Brais Mendez's late winner enough for Spain
International friendly, Estadio de Gran Canaria - Spain 1 (Brais Mendez 78') Bosnia & Herzegovina 0
A late winner from substitute and debutant, Brais Mendez, provided a warming end to an absolutely hideous game, Spain's sterile domination eventually paying off.
The first half was as miserable as imaginable, Spain dominating possession but creating very little with it; their clearest chance was Marco Asensio’s header, which he plopped straight at Ibrahim Sehic. As for Bosnia, they mustered a shot in the first 10 seconds and very little else. It was not at all good.
Little more happened in the second half - an open-goal miss by Alvaro Morata barely constitutes news these days - but then Luis Enrique sent on Mendez after 58 minutes, then Fornals and Rodrigo on 64 minutes, and finally his team played with some energy and intensity. And on 78 minutes, Fornals gave impetus to a move which ended with Ibrahim Sehic parrying Isco's shot, allowing Mendez to ram home from close range.
It is true that Spain were without Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Sergio Busquets and Saul, but even so, there was more than enough quality in their starting XI to offer more than it did, regardless of how doggedly Bosnia defended. Luis Enrique has plenty to work with, but plenty of work to do.
Spain's midfielder Isco (C) grimaces as he vies with Bosnia-Herzegovina's defender Ervin Zukanovic during the international friendly football match between Spain and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Gran Canaria stadium in Las Palmas on November 18, 2018.Getty Images
How does Luis Enrique balance his team? All his best players are over the age of 30, but their replacements are nowhere near the same quality. Somehow, he has to decide which of his young talents he can rely upon now, and must also discard Morata who will surely never be sufficiently trustworthy.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Brais Mendez (Spain) No starting player stood out, so the winning goal on debut is more than enough to seal the deal.
Spain's forward Alvaro Morata gestures during the international friendly football match between Spain and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Gran Canaria stadium in Las Palmas on November 18, 2018.Getty Images
1’ - Bosnia go straight at Spain, Bicakcic marauding downfield and drilling a low drive which Kepa fields at his near post.
40’ - A shot on target! Suso skisp forward and finds Morata, who feeds it one more to Isco, and he drags a shot that Sehic saves easily enough at his near post.
43’ - Isco drives at inside-left and finds Gaya, whose cross is a goodun - Asensio needs to generate most of the power himself, but a free header from inside the box is a free header from inside the box, and his tame effort is easily saved.
47’ - Lovely from Isco, who slides a yard and whips in a cross for Morata ... you know the rest. He heads over, and then looks bedraggled.
51’ - Morata drives at the heart of the Bosnia defence after Cimirot falls over in possession. For a second it opens up for him, a circumstance he soon redeems, carving a sidefooter over the top. Naturally, he blames a deflection, but is in fact deflecting himself.
58’ - What a miss from Morata! Gaya slides Asensio down the line, his low shot is shovelled out by Sehic, and Morata slides in to blaze wide with the keeper on the floor! Course he does! It's the way he tells em!
78’ - GOAL! Spain 1-0 Bosnia (Brais Mendez) Lovely from Fornals, who guides a pass with the outside of his foot for Gaya, whose cross is cut back to hard and too far. But Isco picks it up and dances around a challenge, then drives low ... Sehic can only parry, and Mendez is there to ram home a debut goal! That is far more than this abomination deserves!