SKOPJE: Spain stayed out ahead of Italy in World Cup European qualifying Group G after securing a fragile 2-1 win in Macedonia.
David Silva and Diego Costa were on target but the visitors were made to sweat after Stefan Ristovski pulled one back.
Silva capped a vintage Spanish build-up with the opener and Costa tapped in Isco’s cross before half-time.
But with chances going begging Spain were made to pay when, out of nothing, Stefan Ristovski burst from the halfway line and lashed in his first international goal.
Nevertheless, a 2-1 victory ensured Spain remain top of the group on goal difference, although Italy made inroads on that with a 5-0 win over Liechtenstein.
Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring with a stunning strike, controlling Leonardo Spinazzola’s pass before crashing a volley into the top corner.
Insigne then teed up Andrea Belotti to tuck in the second seven minutes after the interval.
Eder grabbed the third before substitutes Federico Bernarderschi and Manolo Gabbiadini completed the scoring.
Elsewhere in Group G two goals from Armando Sadiku and one from Ledian Memushaj gave Albania a 3-0 away win against Israel.
Croatia slipped up at the top of Group I after a 1-0 defeat in Iceland.
Hordur Magnusson’s last-minute header, from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross, moved Iceland level on points with the leaders, although with an inferior goal difference.
Turkey had a mild scare against group minnows Kosovo after Amir Rrahmani cancelled out Volkan Sen’s early header, but further goals from Cengiz Under, Burak Yilmaz and Ozan Tufan earned a 4-1 victory.
Artem Besyedin secured a 2-1 win for Ukraine in Finland.
Yevhen Konoplyanka had put Ukraine ahead but Joel Pohjanpalo equalised, only for Besyedin to restore their lead three minutes later.
Turkey lie third, two points behind the leaders and ahead of Ukraine on goal difference.
In Group D Aaron Ramsey’s penalty for Wales was cancelled out by a late equaliser in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Serbia in Belgrade.
At the same stadium in Belgrade where Czechoslovakia’s Antonin Panenka scored the winning goal in a shoot-out against West Germany in the 1976 European Championship final and gave his name to the chipped penalty, Ramsey repeated the act to give Wales a 35th-minute lead.
However Wales – who were without suspended Gareth Bale – could not hang on for the victory which would have meant so much. As it is, they remain four points behind Group D leaders Serbia and the Republic of Ireland, who had been held earlier 1-1 at home by Austria.
At the bottom of the table Georgia came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Moldova.
Radu Ginsari and Alexandru Dedov put the hosts 2-0 up at half-time but Georgia hit back through Giorgi Merebashvili and Valeri Kazaishvili to snatch a point.