Oct 9 (Reuters) - Spain’s Diego Costa and Nolito scored second-half goals to seal a battling 2-0 win away to Albania on Sunday that moved them top of World Cup qualifying Group G on goal difference.
Costa took advantage of a horrendous error by Albania goalkeeper Etrit Berisha in the 56th minute to break the deadlock in a tight game on a rainswept night in Shkoder before substitute Nolito finished off a slick team move in the 63rd.
Spain dominated possession but struggled to find a way through until Atalanta goalkeeper Berisha’s misplaced pass landed at the feet of Vitolo, who quickly found David Silva to tee up Costa for an easy tap into an empty net.
With the wind finally in their sails after a frustrating first half, Spain turned on the style and doubled the lead when Nolito curled Nacho Monreal’s cut back into the far corner.
Spain captain and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos limped off with 10 minutes remaining suffering from a suspected knee injury, the one negative of a satisfying night for Julen Lopetegui’s side.
Spain top the group with seven points due to a better goal difference than Italy, who snatched a late 3-2 win at Macedonia. Albania stayed on six points and slipped from first to third. (Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)