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World Cup qualifiers

Win for Thiago, Alaba downed

Spain have taken the lead in Group G in World Cup qualifying. Bayern pro Thiago and his fellow countrymen won 2-0 against Albania in Shkoder on Sunday evening. Spain are now on seven points, equal with Italy who beat Macedonia 3-2.

The 2010 world champions struggled against the disciplined Albanians for a long time. Diego Costa took advantage of a mistake by keeper Etrit Berisha in the early stages of the second half to break the deadlock. Sub Nolito wrapped up the victory after the hour mark. Thiago played the full 90 minutes. The Iberians have now gone unbeaten in 56 World Cup qualifiers since 1993.

David Alaba and Austria suffered a setback on the road to Russia, losing 3-2 away to Serbia. Marcel Sabitzer and Marc Janko cancelled out two Alekdandar Mitrovic goals before Dusan Tadic's 74th-minute strike went without reply. Austria now lie fourth on four points in Group D, whereas Serbia on seven are the table-toppers. Ireland and Wales are on five points each.