Moreno thrilled for 'exceptional' Cazorla in Spain's Malta rout

By Sports Desk November 15, 2019

Spain coach Robert Moreno hailed Santi Cazorla as "exceptional" after the experienced midfielder scored his first international goal in four years.

Villarreal playmaker Cazorla has worked his way back into the Spain reckoning following his arduous and well-documented injury woes and was on target in the 7-0 Euro 2020 qualifying thrashing of Malta in Cadiz.

It was an evening in which Spain's old guard proved their worth amid debut goals for Pau Torres and Dani Olmo, with Jesus Navas, Raul Albiol and Sergio Ramos all impressing – a fact not lost on Robert Moreno.

"What Santi's achieving, his form, after what he went through for nearly three years with his terrible injury problems, is exceptional," said the coach.

"Without guys like him and Raul and Sergio it's hard to win tournament semi-finals and finals.

"The contribution of people like Santi, Sergio and Raul – the generation who have already won tournaments – is incalculable. 

"They have such quality and it's hard to win tournaments without their kind of experience. They've accumulated things that they not only contribute in performance but transmit to others."

Cazorla's strike followed Alvaro Morata's opener before the floodgates opened in the second half with Torres and Olmo's efforts sandwiching Pablo Sarabia's strike, before Gerard Moreno and Navas rounded out the win.

Robert Moreno was impressed with the way his side kept the pressure on their vastly outclassed opponents.

"The gap between 'big' international sides and so-called lesser nations is closing – it's very equal now across the board," he added. 

"We worked really hard on opening things up, on finishing, because we knew we wouldn't have it easy. Playing well like this and scoring lots of goals is always very welcome.

"The easiest thing in the world would have been for my players to accept three or four-nil and drop their level. But we hit seven and could easily have scored 10 – that says very good things about their mentality.

"I note that the players are remembering what I told them the last time we were together and the time before that. We are apart for weeks or months but the momentum is growing so that they put into practice what I asked of them previously. That's good.

"We think it's pretty historic that both Pau [Torres] and Dani [Olmo] both came on and scored with their first touch. It's been decades since two subs came on and scored on their debuts."

Related items

  • I thought VAR helped a referee – Pioli fumes at Fiorentina penalty call I thought VAR helped a referee – Pioli fumes at Fiorentina penalty call

    Milan must take responsibility for their draw against 10-man Fiorentina, says Stefano Pioli, but the coach was convinced his side should not have had a late penalty awarded against them.

    Ante Rebic's goal put Milan ahead after 56 minutes in Saturday's Serie A clash, with Fiorentina's chances diminished further when Dalbert was sent off after a VAR check.

    But Fiorentina rallied late on and were given a penalty when Alessio Romagnoli was deemed to have fouled ex-Rossoneri striker Patrick Cutrone, even though the defender seemed to have got the ball.

    Erick Pulgar converted beyond Asmir Begovic – who had replaced the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma early in the second half – and Milan were ultimately fortunate to come away with a point after Martin Caceres and Dusan Vlahovic missed late chances.

    Though Pioli acknowledged his side had slipped up in failing to retain their lead, he was sure Romagnoli was unfairly penalised.

    "We have to take full responsibility, as we had the game in hand, did everything we needed to do, but then stopped playing once Fiorentina went down to 10 men and assumed the game was over," he told DAZN.

    "There are regrets, we certainly shoulder responsibility, because we made errors.

    "As for the penalty, there are no doubts, it was not a penalty. You could tell from the bench that the ball moved when Romagnoli went in.

    "I do not understand why technology is not used in these situations. I do not understand it. I thought and had taken it for granted that VAR helped a referee change an incorrect decision, but apparently that is not the case.

    "It's difficult to accept, because we've had some strange incidents going against us. We shoulder a lot of the responsibility, because we made mistakes, but on the other situation, there's nothing we can do to control that."

    While Milan will leave Florence feeling hard done by, Cutrone – who clapped the travelling support after the game – insisted he had no intention to celebrate if he had been on spot-kick duties.

    "Milan will never be an opponent for me. I thank them for all they gave me and the applause at the end," Cutrone told DAZN.

    "I am happy with the point, I thank the Viola fans for their support and the Milan fans for their salute. If I had taken the penalty, I never would have celebrated because I respect Milan so much and I would never do that to them.

    "I have to thank Fiorentina for believing in me. I have to repay the club with performances and I hope many goals."

  • Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: Morales stuns Los Blancos as Hazard is hurt before crucial week Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: Morales stuns Los Blancos as Hazard is hurt before crucial week

    Real Madrid slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at Levante thanks to Jose Luis Morales' stunning late winner, as Los Blancos produced a toothless display and lost Eden Hazard to injury ahead of a pivotal week.

    Zinedine Zidane's men created the better chances in Valencia but were wasteful in front of goal, and Morales' glorious strike means Madrid head into next weekend's Clasico trailing leaders Barcelona – who thrashed Eibar 5-0 earlier on Saturday – by two points and possibly without the injured Hazard.

    Karim Benzema was particularly culpable in the first 45 minutes, spurning a glorious opportunity early on, while Hazard – who was withdraw with what appeared to be a calf issue in the second period – also squandered a presentable chance after half-time.

    Levante became a more prominent threat going forward following the interval and ultimately sealed an unlikely win through Morales' fierce effort 11 minutes from time, with Madrid heading into the first leg of their Champions League last-16 encounter against Manchester City on the back of a woeful result.

    Madrid rarely looked worried at the back in the first half, though going forward they lacked a killer instinct.

    That was clearest in the 11th minute when Benzema should have put them in front, but he shot straight at Aitor Fernandez with only the goalkeeper to beat.

    Fernandez was alert again just before half-time, this time parrying Luka Modric's stinging drive.

    It was the same story after the break.

    The previously ineffective Hazard had the opportunity to make a decisive impact in the 53rd minute when released through on goal, but he could not get the bouncing ball fully under control and his eventual effort was scuffed harmlessly at the approaching Fernandez.

    Hazard had to be withdrawn in the 67th minute due to an apparent calf strain seemingly suffered while attempting a backheel, and Levante netted soon after.

    Morales chased a long ball down the left flank on the break and caught it sweetly as it bounced up, beating Thibaut Courtois at his near post with the venomous strike as Madrid dropped points for a second successive LaLiga game after last weekend's 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo.

  • Fiorentina 1-1 Milan: Pulgar penalty salvages draw for 10-man Viola Fiorentina 1-1 Milan: Pulgar penalty salvages draw for 10-man Viola

    Erick Pulgar's late penalty salvaged a 1-1 Serie A draw for 10-man Fiorentina against Milan on Saturday.

    Fiorentina were heading for defeat at Stadio Artemio Franchi, but Asmir Begovic – on in place of the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma – was unable to keep out a Pulgar spot-kick five minutes from time after Alessio Romagnoli was adjudged to have fouled former Patrick Cutrone.

    Pulgar's penalty cancelled out Ante Rebic's second-half opener, with the Croatia forward having netted his sixth goal in his last six Serie A appearances.

    Matters looked even bleaker for Fiorentina when Dalbert was shown a red card for a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but ultimately it was Milan who were left hanging on, Dusan Vlahovic and Martin Caceres missing late chances to win it.

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.