Silva goal saves Spain's blushes

MADRID, Spain, Feb 9, 2011 (AFP) - David Silva scored just four minutes from full time on Wednesday to earn Spain a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Colombia and end the world champions' embarrassing streak of winless friendlies.

The Manchester City striker picked up a pass from Jesus Navas to slot the ball past David Ospina in the Colombian goal.

David Silva (2ndR) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the match on February 9, 2011 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. Spain won 1-0. AFP

Before that, it was Colombia, ranked 50 places below the top-rated Spain in the FIFA rankings, which had many of the best chances in the match at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernebeu stadium.

In the 13th minute, Abel Aguilar only had Iker Casillas to beat after dodging Xavi Hernandez, but the Spanish keeper blocked the shot.

Two minutes later, David Villa hit post at close range after latching onto a through pass from Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona striker caught the rebound but then sent the ball across the front of the goalmouth.

Left back Pablo Armero, Juan Cuadrado, who had come on for Adrian Ramos early in the second half, and Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega all had chances for the South Americans.

But it was Silva who saved Spain's blushes in the end.

"Jesus Navas gave me a good ball from the right and I was able to go and score," he told Spanish public television.

Spain has lost two friendlies since it won the World Cup in South Africa in July, going down 4-1 to Argentina and an even more humiliating 4-0 to Portugal, as well drawing 1-1 with Mexico.

But it tops its Euro 2012 qualification Group I with a 100 percent record.

Coach Vicente del Bosque described it as "a very intense match.

"Colombia was very well organised, they did not let us play as we would like... But we can't complain, the (Spanish) players put in a lot of effort. We must give credit to our opponents."

He also said the match was "good preparation" for the Euro 2012 qualifying games against the Czech Republic and Lithuania in March.

His Colombian counterpart, Hernan Dario Gomez, said his team "had to be very organised.... And sometimes it worked," but adding "it is tiring to play football when you don't have the ball."

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