Spain laboured to a scarcely-deserved 2-2 draw with Czech Republic in UEFA Nations League Group A2 on Sunday night.
La Furia Roja dominated in terms of possession and shots but were undone by some criminal defending.
Jakub Pesek put the hosts ahead early on before Gavi levelled things up on the stroke of half time. Czech Republic thought they had found a winner through Jan Kuchta 24 minutes from the end, only for Inigo Martinez to grab a leveller at the death.
The game got off to a remarkable start with the underdogs taking the lead inside five minutes. Spain were carved open by an incisive move which ended when Kuchta squared for Pesek to tap home.
Czech Republic continued to unsettle their visitors as the first half wore on, organising themselves well with chances at a premium at both ends.
Just before the half-hour mark Spain were finally afforded a sight at goal with Raul De Tomas’ shot deflecting to the waiting Pablo Sarabia on the edge of the box, but he struck well wide.
This effort failed to spark things into life, and seconds before the half-time whistle was blown we had been treated to just three shots in total. However, the teams would end up going down the tunnel level thanks to Gavi.
The Barcelona youngster controlled Rodri’s pass and bent a sumptuous strike around his marker and into the bottom corner.
The second half almost started the same as the first with Czech Republic going agonisingly close to edging back in front early on. Kuchta raced in behind to meet Michal Sadilek’s through ball before firing an effort the wrong side of the post from 10 yards out.
This scare jolted Spain back to life and minutes later Tomas Vaclik had to be alert to prevent De Tomas from scoring from close range. Substitute Marco Asensio then went even closer with his first touch of the game, striking the post after being slipped through by Alvaro Morata.
Spain were made to rue these missed chances in the 66th minute when Kuchta took advantage of a missed interception from Eric Garcia to chip the on-rushing Unai Simon fantastically.
After this Czech Republic retreated into their disciplined shape and largely succeeding in frustrating Luis Enrique’s side. However, just as Spain seemed to be heading for a draw, they found a leveller in the 90th minute.
Asensio delivered the ball to the back post and his cross was met by Martinez, whose header bounced down off the bar and marginally over the line.
Here are your Spain player ratings…
Unai Simon (GK) – 4/10 – Left stranded by his back four’s reckless defending. Tried fruitlessly to prevent the Czech frontline scoring one-on-ones.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 5/10 – Forced to cover for Garcia a lot of the time. Offered little going forward.
Eric Garcia (CB) – 3/10 – Defended horribly – not for the first time. Missed a pretty routine interception for the second goal which summed up his clumsy performance.
Inigo Martinez (CB) – 6/10 – Caught out by balls in behind a worrying amount. At least his passing was pretty good and he did grab the equaliser.
Marcos Alonso (LB) – 4/10 – Sloppy in the opening exchanges. Needed to offer more both going forward and when defending.
Gavi (CM) – 7/10 – The only Spaniard trying to change up the tempo in the first half. Grabbed a fine equaliser just before half time. Faded badly after the interval.
Rodri (CM) – 6/10 – Set up Gavi for the opener with a precise pass. Before that he had been pedestrian at best – much like Courtney Barnett.
Koke (CM) – 3/10 – Painfully safe in possession for the most part. Made a few errors too.
Pablo Sarabia (RF) – 4/10 – Dragged a shot wide in the first half. That was pretty much the only thing he did.
Raul de Tomas (ST) – 3/10 – Rarely got a sniff at goal and when he did he could not take full advantage.
Dani Olmo (LF) – 3/10 – Pretty subdued for the most part but his set-piece delivery provided Spain with a rare outlet.
SUB: Sergio Busquets (CM) – 5/10 – Did not seem to add a great deal.
SUB: Alvaro Morata (ST) – 5/10 – Slipped in Asensio after coming on and then faded.
SUB: Marco Asensio (RF) – 8/10 – Hit the post with his first touch. Not a bad introduction. Set up the last-gasp equaliser.
SUB: Marcos Llorente (CM) – N/A