Morata scores late as Spain draws with Colombia in friendly
MURCIA, Spain (AP) — Alvaro Morata scored in the 87th minute as Spain salvaged a 2-2 draw in a friendly against Colombia on Wednesday, remaining unbeaten under coach Julen Lopetegui.
Morata headed home a cross from the left-flank by Saul Niguez to extend Spain’s streak without a loss to nine games since Lopetegui took over after the European Championship last year.
The hosts opened the scoring with a goal by David Silva in the 22nd minute following a cross by Pedro Rodriguez. But Colombia equalized through Edwin Cardona in the 39th after a mistake by defenders Gerard Pique and Cesar Azpilicueta, who waited for each other to make a challenge and left the midfielder free to score from inside the area.
Radamel Falcao put Colombia ahead with a firm header from the far side of the area after a corner kick in the 55th minute.
“We played better but they were very effective,” Lopetegui said. “We knew that it was going to be an intense match against a great team. It was a good test for us.”
Spain was not at full strength, missing some of the Real Madrid squad who played in the Champions League final on Saturday. The starters in the 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff — Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Francisco “Isco” Alarcon — have yet to report to the national team. Morata, Nacho Fernandez and Marco Asensio returned earlier and got to play on Wednesday.
Colombia, led by James Rodriguez and boosted by many Colombians in the southeastern city of Murcia, played well despite failing to hold on for the victory.
Falcao and Rodriguez received a loud ovation from the crowd when they were substituted in the second half.
Colombia has yet to lose to a European team since coach Jose Pekerman took over the national side in 2012. Wednesday’s goals were the first conceded against a European team under Pekerman.
Ranked fifth in the world, Colombia trails only Brazil in South American qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
It was only the third draw for Lopetegui since he replaced Vicente del Bosque, with six wins in the other matches.
Spain travels to Macedonia for its next World Cup qualifier on Sunday.