Italy and Spain plough on as Serbia make their move

  • Italy and Spain level at top of Group G after respective wins against Albania and Israel
  • Azzurri No1 Gianluigi Buffon marks 1,000th senior outing with clean sheet
  • Juventus keeper also succeeds Iker Casillas as most-capped European player
  • Croatia three points clear in Group I after defeating previously unbeaten Ukraine
  • Serbia, 3-1 victors in Georgia, replace Ireland at Group D summit on goal difference
  • Next fixtures in these groups: Sunday 11 June

Group D
Austria 2-0 Moldova (Arnautović 75, Harnik 90)
Austria reignited their FIFA World Cup challenge with their first win since matchday one. Marko Arnautović broke the deadlock in a contest of few clear-cut opportunities, his cross from the left evading everyone on its way into the far corner. Martin Harnik, following up, sealed the points late on. 

Martin Harnik (Austria)

Austria were pushed all the way at home by Moldova©Getty Images

Georgia 1-3 Serbia (Katcharava 6; Tadić 45pen, Mitrović 64, Gačinović 86)
Dušan Tadić scored one, his fourth of the campaign, and set up the other two as unbeaten Serbia came from behind to record their third win in five group fixtures. Georgia, who took the lead when Nika Katcharava seized on Aleksandr Kolarov’s under-hit back pass, are still seeking their first victory.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales
The Republic of Ireland lost the leadership to Serbia on goal difference after this stalemate with Wales. The result also came at the cost of a serious injury to their captain. Seamus Coleman was taken off on a stretcher, and Wales’s Neil Taylor duly sent off, towards the climax of an increasingly tense match.

Ciro Immobile (Italy)

Ciro Immobile (right) after doubling Italy’s advantage©AFP/Getty Images

Group G
Liechtenstein 0-3 FYR Macedonia (Nikolov 43, Nestorovski 68 73)
FYR Macedonia earned their first points and condemned Liechtenstein to a fifth straight defeat in the process. Boban Nikolov volleyed them in front, expertly dispatching Ivan Tričkovski’s cross with the side of his left foot. On a hat-trick, Ilija Nestorovski had an added-time penalty saved by Peter Jehle. 

Italy 2-0 Albania (De Rossi 12pen, Immobile 71)
Gianluigi Buffon kept a clean sheet on his 1,000th senior appearance as Gian Piero Ventura’s charges stayed level with leaders Spain on 13 points. Daniele De Rossi converted a penalty after Migjen Basha pulled down Andrea Belotti but Italy had to wait until the 71st minute to settle matters, when Ciro Immobile headed in Davide Zappacosta’s deep cross.

Spain 4-1 Israel (Silva 13, Vitolo 45+1, Diego Costa 51, Isco 88; Refaelov 76)
Spain remain top after a comfortable victory. David Silva fired in the opener from Jordi Alba’s pass before Thiago Alcántara laid on the second and third goals either side of the interval – Vitolo’s strike squirming under Ofir Marciano before Diego Costa nodded in Thiago’s corner. Lior Refaelov rifled in a consolation before Isco wrong-footed Marciano late on.

Croatia players celebrate

Croatia have taken firm control of Group I©AFP/Getty Images

Group I
Croatia 1-0 Ukraine (N Kalinić 38)
Ivan Rakitić’s clever flick undid the visiting defence, Nikola Kalinić turning smartly to fire what proved the only goal high past Andriy Pyatov. Croatia therefore open up a three-point lead in the section, with their opponents slipping to third place behind Iceland and level with Turkey on eight points.

Kosovo 1-2 Iceland (Nuhiu 52; Sigurdarsson 25, G Sigurdsson 35pen)
Gylfi Sigurdsson played a key role as Iceland claimed a first away win in the group, his shot parried for Björn Sigurdarsson to tap before the Swansea midfielder sent Samir Ujkani the wrong way from the spot after Birkir Sævarsson had been brought down. Atdhe Nuhiu headed Kosovo back into contention but their wait for a first competitive victory goes on (D1 L4).

Turkey 2-0 Finland (Cenk Tosun 9 13)
Fatih Terim’s team registered their second successive win to continue the revival, Cenk Tosun forcing in the first from close range after Olcay Şahan had flicked on, before applying a clever header to Selçuk İnan’s corner. Cenk’s goals were his first for his country since March 2016.

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