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By Denzil Pinto
Doha: Pedro Rodriguez scored a brace as world and European champions Spain beat Uruguay 3-1 in an entertaining friendly at Khalifa International Stadium yesterday.
Cesc Fabregas had given Spain the lead when he saw his long-range shot fumbled by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera
Cristian Rodriguez levelled the score, but Pedro scored twice in the second half to ensure the victory for Spain that was played in front of a near capacity crowd.
The result preserves Spain’s unbeaten run which now stretches to 17 games, and condemns Uruguay to another defeat, with crucial world cup matches for both sides next month.
Vicente Del Bosque saw his side enjoy ball possession in the early parts of the match, playing slick short passes that frustrated Uruguay.
Spain were rewarded for their ball possession in the 15th minute, when Muslera made a complete mess of Fabregas’ 30-yard effort to give Del Bosque’s side the lead.
In what should have been a simple catch for Muslera, the ball slipped through his hands and into the back of the net.
Uruguay began to get into the match, showing glimpses of the form that won them the Copa Amercan title in 2011. The Spanish defence, which included Cesar Azpilicueta , who made his international debut, had to be on guard with Luis Suarez always being a threat.
Shortly after Carles Puyol saw his goal ruled out for off-side in what would have been a moment to remember for the defender who won his 100th cap.
Uruguay players were soon celebrating when Rodriguez finished sweetly past Victor Vales, who was making his 7th cap for the national team.
Uruguay were nearly celebrating again minutes later, when Edinson Cavani saw his shot go agonisingly wide.
With the score level at 1-1 at half-time Del Bosque made changes with Gerard Pique coming on for Puyol and David Villa replacing Juan Mata.
His substituations made a difference when he saw his side take a 2-1 lead six minutes into the second half courtesy of Pedro. Pique and Villa, were joined by Isco, who made his international debut later in the second half.
Pique disposed Uruguayan defender Diego Godin who came out of his penalty box, and the Barcelona defender delivered a perfectly well-timed pass to Pedro, who finished clinically with a low-shot across Muslera.
Uruguay, who came into this match, winning one of their six last matches, nearly equalised minutes later when Edinson Cavani, the Serie A top scorer, saw his effort saved by Valdes’ fingertips.
Suarez continued to be a constant threat, being in the link-up of some of Uruauay’s attacking play.
However, Suarez saw his side 3-1 behind in the 74th minute when Pedro sealed his second of the match when he converted Fabregas’ cross.