A double from Paco Alcacer alongside goals from Sergio Ramos and Marc Bartra condemned Wales to a 4-1 defeat to Spain at the Principality Stadium.
It wasn’t enjoyable for Wales, but a better second-half performance suggested there are positives to built upon.
With eight minutes gone, Alcacer had his first. Jose Gaya’s shot was controlled by Saul who laid it off to the Barcelona front man, with plenty of time and space, Alcacer found the top left corner.
Spain were dominating, and not too long after they had their second; a completely unmarked Ramos heading in Suso’s free-kick.
But Spain’s third goal was the worst of the lot for Wales to concede. A lack of communication between Joe Allen and Harry Wilson meant that Wilson played the ball into the path of Alcacer. It goes without saying that top teams like Spain will always punish you in these situations.
Nevertheless, Wales did improve toward the end of the second 45, late on Ethan Ampadu hit the post with a header from Wilson’s corner.
That absence of Gareth Bale was really showing, and in the second half Wayne Hennessy denied La Roja from getting a fourth when he came off his line quickly to foil Alvaro Morata.
Then Suso, who had an excellent night in Cardiff, cut in from the right and bent curling shot with his left onto the top of the crossbar.
But Wales improved, especially after the introduction of David Brooks, and the Bournemouth mans square ball would’ve probably been finished by Sam Vokes were it not for Castro Otto sliding in to block his attempt.
With just over quarter of an hour left Marc Bartra made it four, beating Chester in the air from Suso’s corner to head past Hennessey.
The Dragons knocked on the door late on, and got their consolation goal with a minute of normal time to spare. Brooks outside-of-the-foot cross was nodded home by Vokes to raise the biggest cheer of the night.
Wales now get back to the bread and butter of the Nations League with a game away to the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, while Spain host World Cup semi-finalists England on Monday.