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Silva to thank as Spain outstrip Belarus

Belarus 0-1 Spain
David Silva's finish just before the break secured a nervy Group C win in Vicente del Bosque's 100th game as Spain coach.

Highlights: Belarus 0-1 Spain

David Silva exploits a goalkeeping error to put the European champions ahead
Spain dominate first half in Vicente del Bosque's 100th game as coach
Belarus show impressive resolve after the break; one strike chalked off for offside
Iker Casillas fends away efforts from Sergei Kornilenko and Ivan Maevski
Next qualifiers: Ukraine v Belarus, Spain v Slovakia (5 September)

Spain gained maximum reward for David Silva's expertly scavenged effort on the stroke of half-time, but Belarus gave the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group A favourites some anxious moments.

Coach Vicente del Bosque took charge of La Roja for the 100th time, but Spain did not look like the side he led to FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship glory after Silva put them in front.

It was no surprise that Spain oppressed Belarus from the off – Andrei Gorbunov was scrambling to save from Pedro Rodríguez inside two minutes – but Aliaksandr Khatskevich may have thought his team had weathered the storm as Álvaro Morata, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Cesc Fàbregas all missed the target or failed to do quite enough to beat the goalkeeper.

However, they were undone just before the break. Gorbunov sprang off his line to claim Fàbregas's cross from the left but misjudged the flight of the ball, inviting Silva to control at the far post and drive into the unguarded net.

Mindful that a 0-0 draw was no longer an option, Belarus seized the initiative and were almost rewarded on 49 minutes, Sergei Kornilenko unable to beat Iker Casillas after finding himself in space in the box. An effort ruled out for offside further fuelled the home fans' fervour, and Belarus ploughed on.

Maksim Bordachev might have been the hero on 56 minutes as the ball came to him inside the box, but he turned and sliced wide. Casillas then sprang to his right to make a block as Ivan Maevski let fly from distance just after the hour. Spain's heads slowly lifted, and it took a splendid Gorbunov intervention to stop Silva capping a sparkling move with his second of the night in the closing minutes.