Spain – Yugoslavia
Since the disappointment of early exit in the summer’s European Championships, the Spanish FA had appointed former U21 boss Luis Suárez as their new national team manager. This was Suárez’ first match in his new role, and he had seen a few players depart the national team picture since the summer’s tournament: Real Madrid left-back and captain José Antonio Camacho, Barcelona midfielders Ramón Calderé and Víctor Muñoz, and two further Real Madrid players in wide left man Rafael Gordillo and central midfielder Ricardo Gallego. That was a combined total of 276 internationals out of the window in a blink. Not that it left Suárez in despair. What he would subsequently do was to call up to the first team picture players whom he had dealt with during his tenure as manager of the youth team. However, he did not ring total changes for his first national team squad, and as it would turn out, eight of the players he would pick for a starting berth against Yugoslavia had featured in the squad in West Germany over the summer. Indeed, only midfielder Patxi Salinas was previously uncapped among those eleven starting. And among the five players on the substitutes’ bench were only two players who had never played for Selección España: Athletic Bilbao defender Patxi Ferreira and Valencia midfielder Nando. After three straight summer defeats, Spain were looking to get back on the winning trail ahead of the start of the World Cup qualifiers campaign, though their opener against the Republic of Ireland was still two months into the future.
They were up against Yugoslavia. The Balkanians had fallen short to England in the qualification for the 1988 European Championships, and had lost 6-1 over to matches to the English. Yet, they were regarded as an up and coming force, always thought to be capable of delievering the unexpected. Still, as it were, this particular generation of Yugoslavian footballers were a somewhat unknown quantity. They might have seen themselves as favourites for their qualifying group ahead of Italia ’90, and with their first qualifier only five weeks away, this was their final test before the competition would start. So one could be sure that manager Ivica Osim would put out as strong a select as possible, though yet with a few exceptions. The most notable absentee was perhaps midfield playmaker Dragan Stojković, the 23 year old Red Star Belgrade protégé. He was about to fly out to South Korea for participation in the Olympics’ football tournament.
Already in 1988, Yugoslavia had seen a good number of their star players travelling abroad to pursue a career elsewhere, as Marshal Tito’s country was a little more lenient in their execution of totalitarianism than some of their socialistic comrades. Another player who would have been a sure starter, was defender Zoran Vujović, twin brother of Zlatko, and by now also a team mate abroad; they were both playing in France. The Vujović twins had enjoyed some great success with French giant Bordeaux, who had won the French double in their first season, in 1986/87, ousting Marseille with four points in the league and beating them 2-0 in the Cup Final. In the following season, 1987/88, Bordeaux had finished second behind Monaco, and for the 1988/89 season, both Zoran and Zlatko had been transfered to Cannes, who had ended mid table the year before.
They possessed a lot of up and coming players, did Yugoslavia, and two players would be making their debuts from kick-off: full-back Jurić and midfielder Milojević, representing each their Belgrade rival: Red Star and Partizan respectively. The two debutants were indeed the only two starters from domestic football. The other nine were all based abroad, with France the country to where most Yugoslavian footballers would seek at the tail end of the 80s. Five of the nine were based in France, two in Belgium, one in Austria, and one in Italy.
Spain had six wins from 13 previous meetings, Yugoslavia three. This was their first encounter since a warm-up game just ahead of the 1984 European Championships, a tournament where they had both participated, where Yugoslavia had triumphed through scoring the only goal in La Línea de la Concepción, with another notable absentee of today’s match getting the winner: Safet Sušić. The 33 year old attacking midfielder was since long established in the higher echelons of the French game, as he had transfered to Paris Saint-Germain already back in ’82. The Spanish’ last win against Yugoslavia had come on home soil, again, when they had played out their group stage encounter in Valencia, with the hosts triumphing 2-1, indeed their only win in five matches during the 1982 World Cup. The only player with either team still left from that match was today’s Yugoslavia captain Zlatko Vujović.
Referee was 48 year old Portuguese Alder dos Santos. He was making only his second ever international appearance, having almost four years earlier officiated during a 2-1 World Cup qualifying win for Northern Ireland at home to Finland.
|1 Andoni Zubizarreta||sub 85′||26||Barcelona|
|2 Miguel Chendo||26||Real Madrid|
|3 Miquel Soler||sub 61′||23||Barcelona|
|4 Genar Andrinúa||24||Athletic Bilbao|
|5 Manuel Sanchís||sub 85′||23||Real Madrid|
|6 Patxi Salinas||sub 60′||24||Athletic Bilbao|
|7 Rafael Martín Vázquez||22||Real Madrid|
|8 Míchel||25||Real Madrid|
|9 Emilio Butragueño (c)||sub 61′||25||Real Madrid|
|11 Txiki Begiristain||24||Barcelona|
|12 Quique Flores||on 61′||23||Valencia|
|13 Juan Carlos Ablanedo||on 85′||25||Sporting Gijón|
|14 Nando||on 61′||21||Valencia|
|15 Patxi Ferreira||on 85′||21||Athletic Bilbao|
|16 Julio Salinas||on 60′||26||Barcelona|
|1 Tomislav Ivković||28||Wiener SC|
|2 Goran Jurić||25||Crvena Zvezda|
|3 Marko Elsner||28||Nice|
|4 Faruk Hadžibegić||30||Sochaux|
|5 Mehmed Baždarević||27||Sochaux|
|6 Ljubomir Radanović||28||Standard Liège|
|7 Zlatko Vujović (c)||30||Cannes|
|8 Milan Janković||28||Anderlecht|
|9 Borislav Cvetković||25||Ascoli|
|10 Marko Mlinarić||28||Auxerre|
|11 Goran Milojević||sub 84′||23||Partizan|
|14 Miodrag Krivokapić||on 84′||29||Dundee United|
|x Miroslav Žitnjak||20||Osijek|
|x Rade Tošić||23||Hajduk Split|
|x Predrag Mijatović||19||Budućnost Podgorica|
|x Alen Boksic||18||Hajduk|
Spain were lining up in something akin to a 4-3-3. The backline was not complicated, with Andrinúa and Sanchís at the heart, the former acting as libero. The left-back, Soler, was mainly restricted in his approach, and would usually stay inside his own half. The other full-back, Chendo on the right hand side, was less shackled, and would often cross the halfway line and try to get crosses into the box. The reason why Chendo was given more space to attack was that in front of him was only Míchel, and though the Real Madrid midfielder’s position was originally as the wide right man, he would often seek inside towards more central areas and try to direct the play. This would open space up for Chendo to exploit. There was little of that for Soler down the other side, as Begiristain was occupying the left-sided territory for Spain. In the centre of midfield there was Patxi Salinas in the anchor role, and he was very aware of his role in the hierarchy, predominantly releasing the ball for either Míchel or Martín Vázquez. The latter was playing left to the centre, though originally not as wide as Míchel. Barcelona midfielder Roberto was more or less operating as a second striker, just behind captain Butragueño, with Begiristain being a wide left forward. It could perhaps be argued that Spain’s formation was 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, but it was clear that Roberto was more a second central striker than an attacking midfielder.
If the Spanish formation was difficult to pin down to a traditional combination, then the visitors’ was hardly any more straight forward. What was clear was that Hadžibegić was libero. His focus would primarily be a defensive one, and only once did he come across the halfway line during the opening 45 minutes. From kick-off, it did appear as both Elsner and Jurić were both part of a three man defence, although the latter, appearing to the left of centre, did seem more wide, though not quite as wide as a traditional full-back. Elsner would soon attach to Butragueño in a man-marking capacity, and his role thus became a much more central one than was the case with Jurić.
Yugoslavia included a host of midfielders. Sitting at the back of midfield was Radanović, at times dropping so deep he did look like a central defender, as Spain would during the opening half assert some pressure on the visitors. Baždarević was also sitting rather deep, though further forward than Radanović, and yet in front of Baždarević, still in a central position, was Janković. Milojević was the designated right-sided midfielder in the Yugoslavian team, while in Mlinarić they had someone operating to the left of centre, though not in a wide capacity. It was captain Zlatko Vujović who started out wide to the left in the visitors’ midfield, though he would also lend a lot of support for lone striker Cvetković as the half progressed. Interestingly, after 31-32 minutes there was a positional switch involving Jurić and Milojević, seeing to that the latter moved across to the left hand side, operating in a position that resembled a wing-back role. Jurić, meanwhile, took up Milojević’ position as a defensively minded right-sided midfielder.
It would appear that Yugoslavia had changed their formation around at half-time. However, it could perhaps be argued that they had reverted to a back four already after just over half an hour played of the first half, when Jurić and Milojević switched sides. This, though, was more apparent after the break, with them both in relatively clear full-back positions: Jurić to the right, Milojević to the left. In the central midfield three, Radanović did look as the deeper player, with Baždarević being moved into a slightly more advanced role to Radanović’ right. Mlinarić completed the trio, though he was also not foreign to venturing further towards the left hand touchline. Still, captain (Zlatko) Vujović would not be an outright forward, keeping width on the left hand side a lot.
The home side were seemingly unchanged tactically from the start of the second half, but brought on three substitutes after about a quarter of an hour of the final 45 gone. These three substitutions saw a bit of a turn-around:
– Míchel went into the central midfield role as Patxi Salinas came off
– Martín Vázquez took over Míchel’s right-sided midfield role
– substitute Nando came on in Martín Vázquez’ left-sided midfield role
– Quique was a straight swap for Soler as left-back
– Salinas was a straight swap for captain Butragueño up front
– Zubizarreta took over the captain’s armband
Only within minutes of their triple substitution, Spain went three at the back, with Chendo joining (libero) Andrinúa in the centre, as the right-sided central defender, with Sanchís as the left-sided one. Quique (right) and Nando were wing-backs by now, with only Míchel and Martín Vázquez in the centre of midfield, still with Begiristain (left) and Roberto (centre) in support roles for Salinas up top.
Before the end there are further substitutions, with the visitors making their one and only change as Krivokapić directly replaces Milojević at left-back. For the hosts, Patxi Ferreira takes to the field for Sanchís as the left-sided of the three central defenders, and there is also a change of goalkeepers, with Ablanedo coming on in Zubizarreta’s place. This sees Míchel take over captaincy for the remaining minutes.
Lining up in their all white change kit, the visiting Yugoslavs had brought an impressive number of foreign legionnaires to Oviedo. In their most previous outing, a 2-0 win in Switzerland three weeks earlier, only Sochaux duo Hadžibegić and Baždarević, as well as midfielder Srećko Katanec, who had recently moved from Partizan Beograd to Stuttgart, had been the foreign influx in a team of domestic bias. It was indeed a testimony to the vast array of talent available to him that Osim had picked a team where few players had featured much so far in the calendar year. Oviedo by medio September did appear a pleasant place to be, and conditions did not seem unfavourable for football. Spain, showcasing their talent for the first time under their new regime, would see their visitors kick off, and took to the pitch in their traditional colours of red and blue, with shiny white numbers appearing on the back of the players’ shirts. The two respective captains had shook hands and play was ready to initiate with the visitors’ supposedly most advanced players Cvetković and captain Vujović setting the match in motion.
Yugoslavia have a cautious early approach: They wish to pack midfield with a lot of players, clearly aware that Spain are well able to exert domination and roll teams over if they are given time and space in central areas. The visiting captain, having been expected to be up front alongside Cvetković, was operating as a left-sided midfielder, with Milojević, their only debutant, appearing along the other flank. Unorthodoxically, they did seem to play with six men across the middle, though with Anderlecht’s Radanović dropping deep to help his three man backline out, lending support to libero Hadžibegić. However, Spain were only with Butragueño through the centre, even if Roberto was seen in a somewhat more unclear supporting role just off the home captain. It was possibly fair to say that Radanović’ backtracking would often coincide with the Barcelona man’s willingness to threaten the Yugoslavian defence, though pinning him down as Roberto’s man-marker was interpreting Radanović’ tactical instructions one step too far.
The hosts’ only starting debutant was midfield anchor man Patxi Salinas. He would see the ball with a certain amount of frequency, though he would not try to be neither innovative nor creative, usually pushing it onwards for Míchel or Martín Vázquez. Míchel, in his right-sided midfield role, would be classified as the main Spanish playmaker: His role ahead of Chendo far from that of a winger’s in the traditional sense of the description. Míchel would look to come inside and exploit any space left vacant by the compact visitors. Not that there was a lot. Despite fielding a side low on previous experience of playing together, Yugoslavia knew how to shut down their corridors, with their management team clearly expecting Spain to attack using both width and the centre. At times, Míchel would be pushed to the limit of his imagination to find options further afield; often he would return the ball to players in less advanced positions. If Yugoslavia were out to frustrate the home side, they were doing a capable job in the first ten minutes.
Another factor which will frustrate both players and supporters alike are the officials, or more precisely: the linesmen. Within the opening 15 minutes they both demonstrate an alarming lack of quality in waving off each their passage of play which had clearly both been onside. First it was Cvetković who attempted to get in between Andrinúa and Sanchís after a fine through ball from Vujović, and next was as Roberto played his Barcelona mate Begiristain in with an exquisitely weighted through ball which saw him with only the goalkeeper to beat. Yugoslavia left-sided defender Jurić had played Begiristain about a yard onside, something which the linesman on the near side had failed to notice.
In Sochaux duo Hadžibegić and Baždarević, Yugoslavia have two experienced pros who take no prisoners. Early doors, the former often gets into direct combat with Spain captain Butragueño, and he seems to have few problems in keeping the Real Madrid ace in check. Hadžibegić’ positioning is strong, he does not lack pace, and he seems to relish a challenge. He will solve the tasks handed to him very well, even if it has to be part of visiting tactics that Elsner would do man-marking duties on Butragueño. Whenever Hadžibegić is further away from the home side’s most forward, central player, it is, rightly, Elsner who does give the Spain number 9 attention. Baždarević, in central midfield, is a cunning player at times operating in the grey area of the law. He seems designed to shield his backline, but with Radanović having this task in Oviedo, the Sochaux man is free to participate even as Yugoslavia venture forward. He does not let the opportunity to cross the halfway line pass him by, and one initiative sees Sanchís bring him down some 35 yards from goal. It is the visitors’ first strike on target when Baždarević himself elects to test the home ‘keeper from this range. It is a relatively easy save to make with the ball not carrying a lot of momentum by the time it finds Zubizarreta’s grasp. A few moments earlier, Spain had had their first proper pop at goal when Butragueño had managed to advance past Elsner on the edge of the box, but he had scuffed his left-foot shot yards wide of the target.
Spain seemed to increase their pressure on the visitors’ goal after the incorrect decision to deny Begiristain the opportunity to round Ivković, and in a surprise but powerful burst forward, Salinas fed Roberto to the left in Yugoslavia’s area, only for the home side’s attacking midfielder to fire wastefully wide with his left foot, though to his defence it has to be said that the angle did not favour him. And next up was when Martín Vázquez had played left-back Soler into a left wing position. As his cross eluded Elsner, it took a desperate lunge from Hadžibegić to deny Begiristain’s effort to hit goal from close range. However, it did seem likely that at one point the Spanish pressure would yield further great opportunities, and they would go ahead through Míchel after Martín Vázquez had played Begiristain down the line. The left-sided forward took on Elsner, came inside, and played Míchel, who immediately fed the Barcelona player the ball again. Another return pass saw the home side’s powerful and elegant playmaker with space just inside the visitors’ area, and from the left he proceeded to place a controlled right-footed shot beyond the reach of Ivković, low to the ‘keeper’s right. It was a delightfully worked goal, and one which the Spanish ace could proudly attach his signature to. At this point, with less than 30 minutes on the clock, the away side appeared to be struggling defensively to cope with the home side’s slick football.
Just after the half hour mark, Osim decided to switch flanks for Jurić and Milojević, with the latter clearly having his share of trouble when trying to defend along the right side. With Jurić, of a more defensive nature, to look after Begiristain, perhaps Yugoslavia could sort their defensive frailties out, and start laying the foundations for securing a better grasp of proceedings. Up until then, Spain had largely dominated the game, albeit the visitors had broken quickly when given the opportunity. Yet, they had not troubled the Spanish goal. Shortly after, Yugoslavia got into their best position all afternoon so far, when Cvetković’ clever play let the advancing Baždarević in behind Salinas, and his pass again found Vujović just outside the penalty area, behind Soler’s back. However, the skipper’s first touch let him down and took him too far wide, and his subsequent effort saw him fail to keep the ball in play. It was, however, a signal for the home side to pay attention to the Yugoslavians’ counters.
Whatever it is that is happening after the home side’s 1-0, it occurs in favour of Yugoslavia. Perhaps it is the positional switch between Jurić and Milojević that has such an impact on the match, but Spain fail to dominate like they had been doing up until then. They are less convincing in possession, and they are unable to pin Yugoslavia back inside their own half for prolongued spells. Jurić does indeed appear to cope better with Begiristain than Milojević had done, and the latter seems more effective against a deeper-lying Míchel than Jurić had been before him. Osim’s tactical awareness, with technical director Milan Miljanić looking on from his advanced position, seemed impeccable. Close to half time they will have been up on their feet as Cvetković did so well down the right hand flank to get a telling cross into the box, only for Baždarević to see the alert Zubizarreta palm his headed effort away for a right wing corner. It was a masterful save from a move that had 1-1 written all over it. At the same time as Spain’s deterioration seemed great, the visitors had dished out some fine football of their own, contributing to the home side’s increasing troubles. It will have come as something of a relief to the hosts when the Portuguese referee blew his whistle for half time with almost two minutes of added time having been played.
Less than a minute after the restart, Yugoslavia are level. As Soler has left Cvetković unattended behind his back, it is an easy task for Janković to knock a ball into space for him from well inside of his own half. Spain had kicked off the second half, and had wanted to keep possession and knock the ball about, only to concede advantage after some fine pressurising from the visitors halfway inside their own half. Radanović played his midfield colleague Janković, whose pass into space saw the sole striker get into the box in a right-sided forward position. He held the ball up well as both Soler and Andrinúa came charging back, and then waited until the influental Baždarević had reached the edge of the box before squaring it for the France based ace to controlledly guide the ball past Zubizarreta with his left boot. It was a superb counter-attack, and surely one which Spain could have seen coming after losing the initiative having taken the lead. They had been sloppy in letting Janković distribute for Cvetković to run into space, and again in falling asleep allowing the striker scope. Thirdly, no midfielder had backtracked to attend to the increasingly influental Baždarević. Getting back on level terms so quickly after the break will have inspired the slick visitors.
Exactly when it had occured that Osim had changed his defensive formation around to a more clear back four is difficult to say. As will have been remembered from the opening half, Jurić and Milojević had swapped sides five minutes or so after the Spanish goal, yet they did not resemble a four man strong unit at the back. From early in the second half, it would appear that Milojević was in a left-sided full-back position, having been pulled slightly back from his defensive left-sided midfield position. Further afield, it now seemed that Janković was the midfielder operating towards the right hand side, having swapped roles with Mlinarić. The home skipper was Elsner’s main responsibility, but as the centre half slipped when Míchel played a deft pass forward for the striker to run into the right hand side of the Yugoslavian penalty area, Butragueño was free to strike at goal. His diagonal shot crept just past Ivković’ left post. Five minutes into the second half it had been an opportunity which could have brought Spain back in front.
Luis Suárez had not made any changes neither in personnel nor in tactics at half time. And Spain would continue during the opening 13-14 minutes of the second half like they had ended the first half: Unconvincing, somewhat flat, and with players acting below par. The latter was quite evident from the normally vibrant Martín Vázquez. At times playing like a world beater, but also at times unable to sustain the level necessary to compare with, for example, team mate Míchel, yet their roles in midfield were differently defined. Against Yugoslavia, Martín Vázquez had almost a shocking game by his standards. The number of misplaced passes was astounding, and he was far from an efficient force from his inside left position. Losing possession against the counter-willing visitors would lead to a couple of efforts against Zubizarreta’s goal, but neither Cvetković nor Radanović were able to take advantage, although the latter came close to hitting target with his dipping effort from all of 30 yards. Down the other end of the pitch, Míchel has a rather futile attempt at getting a penalty waved away by the referee after making too much of an innocuous challenge from Milojević. Some refs would have bought into the playmaker’s dive, but the Portuguese rightly told Míchel to get back up onto his feet.
With a quarter of an hour played of the second half and the score locked at 1-1, Suárez makes a triple substitution. He takes off Soler, (Patxi) Salinas and captain Butragueño, and on come Quique, Nando and Julio Salinas. Thus, the Basque brothers will not feature for the national team simultaneously this time around. Quique slots straight into Soler’s left-back position, and the older Salinas brother takes up Butragueño’s position as centre-forward. The captain’s armband goes to Zubizarreta. The introduction of Nando, though, leads to a few midfield shuffles, with Míchel coming into the central role, previously held by Patxi Salinas, and Nando takes over for Martín Vázquez as inside left, with the latter coming into the role left vacant by Míchel as the right-sided midfielder. It is soon apparent that Míchel’s interpretation of the central midfield role is of a different nature than that of the player he had replaced, as Spain sought to make use of his distributive skills. There also appeared to be a slight bias towards the left hand side of the pitch for the hosts, with Nando aiming to establish a partnership with Begiristain, and also with Quique just behind them. Roberto’s role continued to be as an attacking, central midfielder, and perhaps should Suárez have adjusted him, as the Barcelona man had hardly had a big influence on proceedings during the opening hour. Could, though, Martín Vázquez come to life in his new position as the right-sided midfielder?
Despite the Spanish changes, the match seemed to have gone stale. There was little fluency in passing either way, and no team managed to carve out decent opportunities for scoring. Míchel was able to have greater influence from a central position, something which Spain should have taken advantage of, but movement ahead of him was hardly impressive, or it could also be said that Yugoslavia nullified the Spanish threats reasonably well. Elsner, who had been marking Butragueño, now was set to keep an eye on the newly arrived Julio Salinas. The latter appeared to be more sluggish, static than the player he had replaced, although, admittedly, also the Real Madrid striker had enjoyed better luck at international level than in this particular fixture. Though what about Nando? Rather short in stature, the blonde haired figure seemed an enigma with great desire to make runs both on and off the ball, something which had been lacking in Martín Vázquez’ approach until then. However, his inclusion seemed to stretch the Spanish midfield, or rather the distance between their midfield players, and so lead to greater space for players like Janković, Baždarević and Mlinarić. Either unwilling or unable, Yugoslavia did not seize on further opportunities to break forward at pace.
Still not content, Suárez makes a formational switch and deploys a three man defence, in which Andrinúa continues to act as the spare defender, flanked by Chendo to his right and Sanchís to his left. Quique is moved across to the right hand side where he will perform in the role as wing-back, with fellow substitute Nando in a similar capacity opposite. This gives Míchel even further responsibility in the central area, where he is now one of two, with his Madrid team mate Martín Vázquez still unable to release himself from the invisible shackles that seem to prevent him from accelerating beyond mediocrity. (Julio) Salinas, more or less ineffective, continues to be the sole centre-forward, with Roberto unmoved from his ‘support role’ or whatever it should be called. It will continue to baffle how Luis Suárez does not instruct the Barcelona midfielder to try something new, as he’s had sparse influence on the match. Then he is brought down by the omni-present Radanović just outside the Yugoslavian penalty area. Martín Vázquez sneaks in ahead of Míchel and fires the set-piece straight into the white wall. Oh dear. When did the player with such growing reputation last have an off-day like this? Míchel will have been fuming just behind him, as he was waiting to strike. With Begiristain still featuring as a wide left forward, couldn’t Spain’s formation now also, in a stretch of the imagination, perhaps be classified as 3-6-1? With 15 minutes remaining, it remains a tight affair.
There is another signal of Yugoslavian intent when Spain sloppily through Martín Vázquez (!) concede possession within their own half after some impressive harrying by the workmanlike Vujović on Chendo. Martín Vázquez, having received a short pass from the stressed Chendo, tried to find Sanchís in a central position, but put too much weight on the ball, which skidded along the surface across to goalscorer Baždarević. Realising he was in a position less equipped to shoot than Janković, Baždarević moved the ball inside to his on-rushing fellow midfielder, but disappointingly Janković did not connect cleanly, and the ball drifted unimpressively wide. However, the visitors would have realized that they could go on and win this if they were still bothered to intensify their pressure inside the hosts’ half of the pitch. Some of the Spanish players appeared to be awkward when in possession this evening. In the next attack, it is the home side who finish with a left-footed effort from Begiristain inside the visitors’ area. In a rare moment of joy from the maligned Martín Vázquez, he had fed the active Quique with a pass down the right hand side, and with Yugoslavia unable to properly clear their lines, the ball had fallen for the wide forward to have a go. Rather than hit the ball with any sort of conviction, he tried to steer it into the top corner with the inside of his boot. Over.
Just as Yugoslavia make their one and only change of the match, with Krivokapić coming on to replace left-back Milojević, Baždarević again has to show his class as he blocks an effort from Míchel deep inside his own area. Had the Sochaux man not backtracked and thrown himself in front of the Spain playmaker’s shot, it could so easily have been the winning goal for the hosts. The home side at this point were having their best spell of the second half, and in particular Quique was a welcome addition to the collective with his energy. The right-sided player even assisted Míchel in more central areas at times, leaving the hapless Martín Vázquez surplus to requirements out wide. The same Míchel will accept the captain’s armband as the third home skipper of the evening as Spain go on to make their final two substitutions, with goalkeeper Zubizarreta being replaced by Ablanedo, and with Patxi Ferreira coming on in place for Sanchís. Little would they know that 30 seconds after these two had entered the pitch, Spain would be behind: Ferreira’s very first involvement sees him try to clear the ball after Chendo’s header back, but in volleying the ball in forward direction, Ferreira can only hit Chendo’s knee. The two defenders had been only a few yards apart, and with the ball ricochetting nicely for Cvetković to run through and slip the ball past Ablanedo, it is Yugoslavia who go 2-1 up. Athletic Bilbao defender Ferreira was making his debut, and what a way to introduce himself! Cvetković, though, having been a tireless worker right throughout the match, deserved the goal for his efforts.
Just about two minutes into time added on, the referee, who’s had a fine game with little controversy, signals the end. Spain had tried their best to apply some final pressure, but were only a relative threat due to their limitations as a cohesive unit. Míchel, having taken that captain’s armband just prior to Cvetković’ goal, and having already been the most recognizable Spanish player inside the Yugoslavian half, had three shots inside the last six minutes: A low right-footed effort from ten yards well held by Ivković, another right-footed attempt, this time from 30 yards drifting wide, and a desperate left-foot shot from the left corner of the area that never posed a threat to the visitors’ goal, despite Ivković having to collect it low. Míchel had also spread a precise 35 yard angled pass onto the foot of Begiristain on the left, so no one could argue against him at least trying his best to get Spain back on level terms. As it turned out, La Roja would suffer their fourth straight international defeat in Luis Suárez’ first game in charge. Yugoslavia, on the other hand, could look ahead to the start of their qualification campaign in bright mood after a fine display in a difficult venue.
Yugoslavia took some time to gel, and Spain dominated proceedings in the first half hour, where they also went a goal up through Míchel’s elegantly taken goal after a nice move also involving Begiristain. Little by little, the relatively newly composed visiting side came back into the game, and by the time the half-time whistle sounded, they were on top, only denied an equalizer from Baždarević’ header by a top class Zubizarreta save. Early in the second half they counter-attacked their way back onto level terms after the impressive Baždarević’ low finish. Spain would try to change both personnel and formation, but did not manage to work Ivković to a great degree, and towards the end it was the visitors who ran off with the glory after debutant substitute Ferreira’s unfortunate clearance had ricochetted off his team mate and into the path of Cvetković, who had an easy task in finishing past the substitute ‘keeper. Yugoslavia will have been buoyed by a wonderful away win, with Spain realizing they still have a bit of work ahead of them if they are to be a threat in their qualification group.
1 Zubizarreta 7.0
(13 Ablanedo -)
2 Chendo 6.7
3 Soler 6.6
(12 Quique 7.1)
4 Andrinúa 6.8
5 Sanchís 6.9
(15 Ferreira -)
6 P Salinas 6.6
(16 J Salinas 6.2)
7 Martín Vázquez 5.9
8 Míchel 7.3
9 Butragueño 6.9
(14 Nando 6.7)
10 Roberto 6.2
11 Begiristain 6.7
1 Ivković 6.9
2 Jurić 6.9
3 Elsner 7.0
4 Hadžibegić 7.2
5 Baždarević 7.4
6 Radanović 7.2
7 Zlatko Vujović 7.0
8 Janković 6.8
9 Cvetković 7.1
10 Mlinarić 6.8
11 Milojević 6.7
(14 Krivokapić -)