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European Championship Qualifying

Zalgiris Stadium (ATT 8,400) 29th March 2011 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: L Duhamel

Lithuania Lithuania vs Spain Spain

Lithuania 1

M Stankevicius (56)

ft

Spain 3

Xavi (20)
T Kijanskas (og 70)
J Mata (84)

Mata secures Spain success

Xavi on target in win over Lithuania

Last Updated: 29/03/11 10:56pm

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Mata: On target

Mata: On target

Xavi and Juan Mata helped Spain overcome Lithuania on a testing pitch in Kaunas as the world and European champions avoided an upset in their Group I clash.

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Barcelona playmaker Xavi, who was winning his 101st cap for his country, broke the deadlock after 20 minutes only for Marius Stankevicius to level 11 minutes after the break.

But substitute Mata brought about an own goal from Tadas Kijanskas after 70 minutes and finished himself six minutes from time to decide things in Spain's favour.

The result extended Spain's 100 per cent start to their qualifying fixtures and ensured they kept their lead at the top of Group I at six points over the Czech Republic, who beat Liechtenstein earlier.

Such was the difficult nature of the pitch at that there was some uncertainty ahead of kick-off as to whether the match would take place.

But go ahead it did, and it was Spain striker David Villa who was quickly to the fore.

Villa stole the headlines on Friday when he notched his 45th and 46th international goals to become Spain's all-time leading scorer.

Hunting

And he was quickly hunting for number 47, but his shot from 20 yards was held by Lithuania goalkeeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas.

But he did make a decisive contribution in the 20th minute as he and Barcelona team-mate Xavi switched their usual roles.

For a change it was the striker who played in the midfielder and Xavi struck the ball home from 25 yards.

Javi Martinez had the opportunity to double the lead in the 27th minute but his shot was too close to Karcemarskas, who held on.

The hosts had chances of their own before the break, with Darvydas Sernas failing to find the target from out wide just before the half-hour mark and Mindaugas Panka bringing a save out of Iker Casillas with an ambitious strike from 30 yards as half-time loomed.

Villa was withdrawn eight minutes after the restart, replaced by his former Valencia team-mate David Silva.

Action

And the Manchester City man had been on the pitch barely three minutes when his team were pegged back.

Deividas Semberas on the left found Stankevicius, whose 25-yard effort was good enough to beat Casillas.

That spurred Spain into action and when Tomas Danilevicius fouled Fernando Llorente 25 yards from goal, Xabi Alonso drilled a free-kick towards goal, with Karcemarskas got enough on to turn behind.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque brought Mata on in the 66th minute and it proved to be an inspired change as he was involved in Spain's second four minutes later.

The Valencia winger advanced down the left and played the ball into the centre where Kijanskas, under pressure from Llorente, headed into his own net.

Alonso's free-kick was blocked by Semberas four minutes later after Andrius Skerla had fouled Llorente.

But a third goal did come, with Xavi this time assuming the more familiar role of creator as he played in Mata to finish from 12 yards to cap his match-changing cameo.

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Matches

  • European Championship Qualifying

    Tue 29th Mar - Group I
    • Czech Rep
      2 - 0
      Liechtenstein
      bet
      TV
    • Lithuania
      1 - 3
      Spain
      bet
      TV
    Tue 29th Mar - Group E
    Tue 29th Mar - Group F
    Tue 29th Mar - Group A
    Tue 29th Mar - Group D
    • Romania
      3 - 1
      Luxembourg
      bet
      TV
    Tue 29th Mar - Group C

Tables

European Championship Qualifying Group A

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 30
2 Turkey 10 17
3 Belgium 10 15
4 Austria 10 12
5 Azerbaijan 10 7
6 Kazakhstan 10 4

European Championship Qualifying Group B

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 23
2 Republic of Ireland 10 21
3 Armenia 10 17
4 Slovakia 10 15
5 Macedonia 10 8
6 Andorra 10 0

European Championship Qualifying Group C

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 26
2 Estonia 10 16
3 Serbia 10 15
4 Slovenia 10 14
5 Northern Ireland 10 9
6 Faroe Islands 10 4

European Championship Qualifying Group D

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 France 10 21
2 Bosnia 10 20
3 Romania 10 14
4 Belarus 10 13
5 Albania 10 9
6 Luxembourg 10 4

European Championship Qualifying Group E

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 27
2 Sweden 10 24
3 Hungary 10 19
4 Finland 10 10
5 Moldova 10 9
6 San Marino 10 0

European Championship Qualifying Group F

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Greece 10 24
2 Croatia 10 22
3 Israel 10 16
4 Latvia 10 11
5 Georgia 10 10
6 Malta 10 1

European Championship Qualifying Group G

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 8 18
2 Montenegro 8 12
3 Switzerland 8 11
4 Wales 8 9
5 Bulgaria 8 5

European Championship Qualifying Group H

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Denmark 8 19
2 Portugal 8 16
3 Norway 8 16
4 Iceland 8 4
5 Cyprus 8 2

European Championship Qualifying Group I

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 24
2 Czech Republic 8 13
3 Scotland 8 11
4 Lithuania 8 5
5 Liechtenstein 8 4

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