Late Villa winner beats Italy
David Villa came off the bench to hand Spain a 1-0 victory in the clash of the European heavyweights in Madrid.
Last Updated: 26/03/08 11:28pm
Spanish sub strikes late on to overcome world champions
David Villa came off the bench to hand Spain a 1-0 victory against Italy in the clash of the European heavyweights in Madrid.
The Valencia striker was a half-time replacement for Liverpool's Fernando Torres and broke the deadlock 14 minutes from time to defeat the World Cup holders.
The two nations will be among the favourites for Euro 2008 and both fielded strong line-ups as they continued their preparations for this summer's finals.
The opening half at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium was therefore a close-fought affair, in which Barcelona veteran Carles Puyol lasted just 17 minutes before making way for young Valencia defender Raul Albiol to make his second international appearance.
The game seemed destined to end in a stalemate as the second half was disrupted by a flurry of substitutions, with Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa coming on for his Spain debut as each side made six changes.
But Villa pounced in the 76th minute to grab the game's winning goal, beating Gianluigi Buffon to extend his superb scoring record to 14 goals in 30 international appearances.