Arsenal star scores in controversial friendly narrow triumph

Cazorla Corner

Santi Cazorla scored for Spain last night - but the World and European champions scraped a 2-1 win against Equatorial Guinea, in a highly criticised friendly.

Last night saw Spain continue to take their brad of football around the world like some form of tiki-taka carnival when they travelled to Equatorial Guinea - but according to many this was one hop on the globe too far.

The friendly was deemed controversial as the African nation has a president in Teodoro Obiang Nguema who is accused of human rights violations and mass corruption. The leader took control of the former Spanish colony in 1979 during a military coup and has remained in charge ever since - and opposition groups and human rights organisations have questioned the Spanish football federation for making the friendly happen.

And who said football and politics never mix?

The best Arsenal players capped by England

But the game did go ahead, and an Arsenal star was one of those on target - in what was an uninspiring display from the Spanish players.

Spain became the first country from outside Africa to play in the country since the coup in 1979 - and perhaps continued questions and scrutiny on the subject got to the players who were really not at their best.

In the end they won 2-1 - but had two spillages from goalkeeper Danilo to thank for victory.

Goals from Jimmy Bermudez and Juanfran respectively came later on - but Santi Cazorla opened the scoring with perhaps the easiest goal he will ever score.

Juan Mata hung in a bread-and-butter half volley cross from the left - which Danilo inexplicably spilled into the path of Cazorla. He taped it in, kissed his tattoo and went on to join the rest of his team-mates in an awkward performance at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.

Here are the highlights from the game…

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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