Alba, Montolivo first-half casualties in Italy-Spain


Barcelona will be hoping Jordi Alba has not sustained too serious an injury after he was forced off in the first half of Spain's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Italy, who themselves had to replace Riccardo Montolivo.

Alba appeared to sustain a problem in the first half and received medical treatment before walking off the pitch in the 22nd minute.

Real Madrid defender Nacho came on in his stead, with the Barcelona man likely withdrawn as a precaution.

Italy were also forced into a first-half switch after Montolivo appeared to suffer a knee injury following a challenge by Sergio Ramos in the 30th minute.

Montolivo made his way over to the sideline but fell back to the ground and was carried away on a stretcher after being replaced by AC Milan team-mate Giacomo Bonaventura, who had been dropped from the starting line-up after the 3-1 victory over Israel last time out.

Spain face Albania in their next outing on Sunday, while Italy take on Macedonia on the same day.