Spain edge FYR Macedonia to close on France

FYR Macedonia 0-1 Spain An own goal from goalkeeper Tome Pacovski helped La Roja stay top of Group C, as they moved within a victory of qualification for UEFA EURO 2016.

See how Juan Mata's cross came off the unlucky Tome Pacovski to give Spain three points in Group C.
  • Tome Pacovski's own goal proves the difference for Spain
  • Neither goalkeeper was forced into a save all match
  • Result maintains Spain's two-point Group C advantage
  • Next games: FYR Macedonia v Ukraine, Spain v Luxembourg (9 October)

Spain moved to within a victory of qualification for UEFA EURO 2016 thanks to a 1-0 Group C win over an organised and spirited FYR Macedonia side in Skopje. 

An own goal from goalkeeper Tome Pacovski means that three points against Luxembourg on 9 October will seal the reigning European champions' progress to next summer's tournament in France. 

The section leaders' eighth-minute clincher came about in unusual fashion, with Pacovski opting to let a right-wing cross from Juan Mata pass over his head, only for the ball to rebound off the post behind him and hit him in the face as he turned to see its whereabouts. 

Conceding in such manner was unfortunate for the hosts, whose energy forced Vicente del Bosque's team into a number of uncharacteristic errors. One led to a chance for Milovan Petrovikj inside the area, but the midfielder could not keep his effort down. Diego Costa then earned a booking that will keep him out of the Luxembourg match, and Pacovski was almost caught out again when a looping Dani Carvajal shot struck the crossbar. 

Diego Costa is tackled by Vance Sikov
Diego Costa is tackled by Vance Sikov©AFP/Getty Images

The goal aside, the opening 45 minutes represented a satisfactory one for Ljubinko Drulović's side, but they were still unable to craft enough opportunities to breach the Spanish defence and haul themselves off the foot of the Group C table. 

Feran Hasani rifled a free-kick centimetres wide after the break, yet Spain goalkeeper David de Gea – playing his first competitive game of the season – did not have a save to make all evening. However, neither did De Gea's opposite number, despite the best efforts of David Silva to spark Spain into full flow.