By Tim Hanlon
BARCELONA, Oct 13 (Reuters) - While Diego Costa stuttered before getting his first goal for Spain against Luxembourg on Sunday, youngster Paco Alcacer is leading from the front for the new-look team in Euro 2016 qualifying.
The 21-year-old Valencia striker scored on his competitive debut for Spain against Macedonia last month and now has three goals in as many qualifying fixtures, showing the way for the Chelsea hitman, who took seven games to get off the mark.
Alcacer even had words of encouragement after Costa, who bagged 36 goals for Atletico Madrid last season, was unable to score in the second qualifying match against Slovakia, which Spain surprisingly lost.
He said the goals would finally come for Costa and though Alcacer scored as a late substitute in Zilina, he could not do enough to prevent the 2-1 defeat.
That goal earned him a starting place alongside Costa against Luxembourg and he got the second in the 4-0 victory that means Spain have two wins and a defeat in Group C.
If I am here, it is because I am doing well for my club and when you have a chance you have to take full advantage, Alcacer told reporters.
You can t forget that strikers are dependent on their team mates as well for their passes.
Costa, who has nine goals in nine games for Chelsea, missed a hatful of chances in the first half and was noticeably anxious in front of goal but he finally took advantage of Luxembourg s slack defending after the interval.
Everyone knows what a great player Diego is and when I am on a run when the goals don t go in, I need my team mates to help me, Alcacer added.
When I got my goal, I tried to lift him as much as I could.
Manchester City s David Silva crowned one of his best Spain performances for some time with the opening goal but it was generally a night that belonged to the new generation.
Spain are looking to win their third successive European Championship in 2016 and they finished Sunday s match with six players who have yet to appear at a senior international tournament.
The six, along with Koke, who did play at this year s World Cup, are part of the generation which have won the past two under-21 European Championships, meaning there is plenty of promise following the disappointment in Brazil.
Spain failed to get out of the group stage in the World Cup and while it prompted the retirement of veterans Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa, it has now opened the door to these players with calibre.
We are showing that we are a good generation, Alcacer continued.
It was an especially notable night for Manchester United s David de Gea, who ousted captain Iker Casillas in goal and kept a clean sheet on his competitive debut.
He didn t have much to do but he did ensure that the team felt confident with him behind. The national team has plenty of quality at the back with De Gea, Casillas and Kiko Casilla, Alcacer added. (Editing by John O Brien)
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