Superb Spain smash Austria
Fabregas on target as Villa bags brace in Vienna
Last Updated: 18/11/09 10:14pm
Fabregas: On target
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was on target as Spain hit back from an early deficit to rout 10-man Austria at the Ernst-Happel Stadion in Vienna.
Vicente del Bosque's side suffered an early setback when Jakob Jantscher put Austria ahead, but Spain hit back in style to claim another impressive success at the scene of their Euro 2008 final triumph over Germany.
Fabregas drew the visitors level in the 10th minute before David Villa added two more goals before the break to move ever closer to Raul's national record.
By the time of Villa's second goal Austria had been reduced to 10 men after Yasin Pehlivan was shown a straight red card in the 26th minute for a late challenge on Sergi Busquets.
Del Bosque made five changes at the break but it was business as usual for the Spanish in the second half and substitutes Dani Guiza and Pablo Hernandez netted within 60 seconds of each other to make it 5-1 by the 57th minute.
There were no more goals after that, but Spain had already done more than enough to record their 41st victory - including two after extra-time - in their last 44 fixtures.
Spain came into the game in buoyant mood after downing fellow World Cup hopefuls Argentina 2-1 in Madrid at the weekend, but the European champions found themselves in the unfamiliar position of trailing after Jantscher scored in the eighth minute
Roman Wallner pulled the ball back to Jantscher near the edge of the area and his shot took a deflection off Sergio Ramos before flying past Iker Casillas.
That was an unexpected start to the match, but it took Spain just two minutes to restore parity as Fabregas, bursting through the heart of the Austria defence, took David Silva's pass in his stride before sliding his shot past Christian Gratzei.
Ten minutes later Spain were in front thanks to Villa, who fired home a first-time shot after latching onto Andres Iniesta's superb pass inside Austria captain and centre-back Paul Scharner.
A magnificent flying save from Gratzei then prevented Iniesta making it 3-1 soon after with a 25-yard drive, before Austria's problems deepened when Pehlivan was dismissed after his challenge left Busquets writhing in agony on the floor.
After that it only seemed a matter of how many goals dominant Spain would run up against their weakened hosts.
Silva was denied by Gratzei after breaking clean through but his Valencia team-mate Villa enjoyed better luck just before the break as he added Spain's third.
In an almost identical move to his opening goal - only this time from the other side of the pitch - an inch-perfect pass by Silva bisected the Austria full-back and centre-back and Villa raced in behind to prod the ball past Gratzei.
That was Villa's 35th international goal in only his 54th appearance for Spain, and moved him to within nine of the record of 44 held by the out-of-favour Raul, whose tally came in 102 matches.
Villa was not to get the chance to improve on that as he was one of the men to make way at the break, but the new boys continued to make life tough for their hosts and added two more goals.
The first fell to Guiza, who played a one-two with Pablo and then stabbed the ball home when Austria defender Christian Fuchs looked favourite to clear the danger, and Valencia youngster Pablo added the fifth 60 seconds later with his first international goal.
Spain had chances to increase their lead, with Guiza seeing his cross deflected against the post by a defender, but the Austrians were able to avoid any further humiliation in the last half-hour.
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