BRUSSELS, October 15 (World Cup Qualifying) - David Villa struck a late winner as Spain fought back from an early deficit against Belgium to continue their 100% start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Villa headed home Dani Guiza's far-post cross in the 88th minute for his 23rd international goal in only his 40th appearance as Spain overcame the shock of conceding their first goal in seven games.
That effort was scored by Belgium's in-form striker Wesley Sonck, whose seventh-minute header took his tally to five in four qualifiers, but Spain hit back with a memorable effort from Andres Iniesta before Villa's late heroics gave them a potentially crucial victory in the Brussels rain.
The result keeps Spain clear at the top of Group Five with four successive wins, while it also stretches their unbeaten run to 27 matches, of which the last 17 have now ended in triumphs - albeit one via a penalty shoot-out victory over Italy at Euro 2008.
It looked set to be another normal day at the office for the all-conquering Spanish as Fernando Torres' 35-yarder in the opening two minutes forced Stijn Stijnen into a diving stop.
But Spain soon found themselves in the rare position of having to collect the ball out of their own net.
A Belgium corner found its way through to Vincent Kompany at the far side of the area and, after side-stepping Sergio Ramos, he curled a cross back into the danger area which the unmarked Sonck headed across Iker Casillas into the far corner of the net.
That was the first goal Spain had conceded in 717 minutes of action as Casillas and his back-up keeper Jose Reina smashed the national record set by former stoppers Andoni Zubizarreta and Paco Buyo.
Spain were rocking and Steven Defour wasted a half-chance to put Belgium 2-0 up before the European champions suffered another huge setback when Torres was substituted with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.
The visitors did not take long to regroup though and Villa showed there is more than one star striker in the Spain line-up as he rounded Stijnen only for his subsequent cross to be intercepted.
Belgium looked dangerous going forward as well though and Casillas needed to be alert on a number of occasions in an entertaining first half.
The next goal fell Spain's way, however, and it was an effort that would have left coach Vicente del Bosque purring with delight.
The chance stemmed from a poor pass by Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini, but after that it was all class.
Torres' replacement Cesc Fabregas picked up the loose pass before moving the ball on to Iniesta, who burst into the area leaving two defenders trailing in his wake, before rounding Stijnen and firing into the roof of the net.
Spain went on to finish the half the stronger and Villa was only denied a goal by a superb save at his front post by Stijnen.
If the opening period was an exciting affair, the start of the second was breathtaking stuff with Belgium going agonisingly close through Fellaini, Anthony Vanden Borre and Witsel, while Iniesta fired just over at the other end - all in the opening 10 minutes.
Spain weathered that storm though, and Fabregas almost put his side in front in the 76th minute with a long-range shot which Stijnen did well to tip over.
In truth a draw would probably have been the fairest result, but Spain had other ideas and the prolific Villa was yet again his side's hero as he nodded home Guiza's deep cross to seal the points just before the end.