Spain 3-0 Norway: Late Joselu brace punishes wasteful visitors in De la Fuente's first game
Spain looked to be scraping an unconvincing 1-0 win over Norway, but Joselu scored two late goals on his debut to change the game.FotMob - 3 months ago
Joselu scored two late goals on his international debut as Spain opened Euro 2024 qualification with a 3-0 win over Norway at La Rosaleda in Luis de la Fuente's first game in charge.
Spain were by no means impressive, with the Erling Haaland-less visitors wasting several fine opportunities, but Joselu repaid De la Fuente's faith towards the end.
De la Fuente – appointed Luis Enrique's successor after World Cup elimination – named an unfamiliar-looking starting XI yet saw his side take an early lead through Dani Olmo.
They held Norway at bay through some excellent Kepa Arrizabalaga saves and a big miss from Alexander Sorloth, and substitute Joselu punished them with two goals in as many minutes.
It took Spain just 13 minutes to get the first goal of their new era, Alejandro Balde's cross-cum-shot flicked home by Olmo.
They needed a brilliant save from Kepa just before the half-hour to remain ahead, however, the goalkeeper turning Fredrik Aursnes' blistering close-range volley over.
Mikel Merino went close in similar circumstances a minute later, only for Orjan Nyland to tip the ball around the post.
Chances aside, Spain were second best for significant periods and had another fortunate escape early in the second half.
Marcus Pedersen's goal-bound effort was crucially deflected by Nacho Fernandez, and Kepa got back to hook the careering ball off the line.
Sorloth then volleyed off target in the 80th minute and Spain duly capitalised.
Joselu nodded in Fabian Ruiz's cross from deep, before smashing home from close range when Mikel Oyarzabal's shot was deflected into his path, capping a memorable night for the Espanyol striker.
What does it mean? Wasteful Norway put to the sword, but De la Fuente will want more
Whether the presence of Haaland would have changed anything is difficult to prove, but Norway created enough for us to at least ponder that scenario.
They were generally quite impressive, but they got off to a slow start and ended the match in a similar manner.
The scoreline flatters Spain, significantly. While undoubtedly a good win and that will be the most important thing for De la Fuente, it is difficult to say La Roja's performance was anything beyond mediocre.
No way, Joselu
Just two days shy of his 33rd birthday, Joselu was the oldest debutant for Spain since September 2006, and he certainly delivered.
By extension, the Real Madrid academy product also became the oldest goal-scoring debutant over the same period, his late brace perfectly highlighting how he has made himself a real nuisance to LaLiga defenders over the past few years.
Back in the Spain squad after being largely – and controversially – ignored by Luis Enrique, Iago Aspas was straight into the starting XI as a number 10.
But he was nearly anonymous before being withdrawn for Dani Ceballos just before the hour, his replacement going on to record a match-high three key passes.
Spain will face Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday; Norway will go up against Georgia in Batumi the same day.