REYKJAVIK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta scored four minutes from time to scramble a 1-1 draw with Iceland in their Euro 2008 qualifier on Saturday.
The visitors had midfielder Xabi Alonso sent off after 19
minutes and fell behind to a header by Emil Hallfredsson 20
Spain poured forward in search of an equaliser and were
rewarded when substitute Iniesta poked the ball past keeper Arni
The result left Spain third in Group F with 16 points from
eight games, level with second-placed Northern Ireland and three
behind leaders Sweden.
"It was difficult with a man down but we fought hard and I
think we deserved something more from the game," Spain defender
Sergio Ramos told Radio Marca.
Spain started positively on a rain-swept pitch when striker
David Villa forced Arason to turn a low free kick round the post
in the fourth minute.
But the home side's muscular approach unsettled Spain and
they were thrown further out of their stride when Alonso stamped
on Arnar Vidarsson in a challenge to earn a red card.
Two minutes later Johannes Gudjonsson's shot flew just wide
of Spain's post.
Luis Aragones's attacking substitution, replacing a full
back with another midfielder seemed to settle the visitors but
left them short at the back.
Iceland made full use of the space when Gudjonsson's cross
from the right found Hallfredsson unmarked at the back post,
from where he drilled a diving header low into the net.
Spain, who had won their last four qualifiers, dominated the
second half and Iceland dug in and played on the break.
Iker Casillas saved well from Gunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson on
a counter and it was late in the game when Villa's clipped
through ball allowed Iniesta to squirm clear and slide the ball
past the advancing keeper.
Barcelona's Iniesta scored the late winner for Spain against
Iceland in Mallorca when Spain won 1-0 in March.