Spain beaten 2-1 by Slovakia in Euro 2016 qualifier

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Spain suffered a shock 2-1 defeat against Slovakia in their second Euro 2016 qualifier on Thursday night, bringing an end to the European champions' 37-game unbeaten qualifying run that dates all the way back to 2006.

In 37 previous World Cup and European Championship qualifying matches, La Roja hadn't tasted defeat until Miroslav Stoch's 87th minute header gifted Ján Kozák's side a memorable three points.

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Late drama

Substitute Paco Alcacer thought he had earned Spain a draw after cancelling out Juraj Kucka's first-half free-kick in the 83rd minute, only to see the hosts score again less than three minutes from time to leave Group C wide-open after two games.

Veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas was criticised after another shaky performance between the sticks, and was directly responsible for Slovakia's opener after misjudging Kucka's 3-yard effort.

Diego Costa is also coming under increasing pressure as his goal-drought for his adopted country continues - now extending to six games - despite the fact the Chelsea striker has hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge, with nine Premier League goals already registered for his new club.

Poor form

It was nine years ago in Slovakia that recently-retired fan favourite David Villa netted the first of his 59 international goals, which makes him Spain's leading goalscorer, and there had been hopes that Costa would follow suit and get off the mark last night.

However, despite a bright start to proceedings after linking up well with Blues team-mate Cesc Fabregas, it proved to be another evening to forget for the £32 million marksman.

His physical battle with fellow Premier League star Martin Skrtel for the duration of the match was intriguing, but the Liverpool defender ultimately came off better after making his presence felt.

The two players were spoken to by the referee following an off-the-ball incident, but neither were officially reprimanded.

Time to bounce back

Speaking after the game Vicente del Bosque rued his team's lack of clinical finishing before crediting Slovakia goalkeeper Jan Mucha with an inspirational, match-winning display.

"We showed patience but we were not effective and their keeper was superb," he was quoted saying by BBC Sport.

Attention now quickly turns to Sunday's clash against Luxembourg, where Spain will be looking to get back to winning ways, similar to the way in which they dismantled Macedonia 5-1 in their opening game.

Slovakia, meanwhile, sit pretty at the top of the group following their latest scalp, and will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent record when they take on Belarus at the weekend.

Diego Costa
Real Madrid
Iker Casillas
Spain Football

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