Niguez, Ramirez and Inaki Williams scored for Spain and entered the semis of UEFA Under 21 European Championship. Portugal still can win their final game but that may not be enough to advance to the next round.
Effective Spain in UEFA Under 21 European Championship
An effective Spain qualified to the semi-finals of UEFA Under 21 European Championship after winning vice-European champions Portugal by 3-1. This result puts an end to 31 games without losing on Portuguese side.
In Gdynia, Portuguese had the first big chance to score when Daniel Podence shot the woodwork with ten minutes played. Spain however needed only ten more minutes to take the lead with a goal by Saul Niguez. Portugal pressed Spain, but the best they could do was a good combination between captain Bruno Fernandes and Podence on the 34th minute. A Spanish defender stopped those intents and Podence couldn’t even shot to goal.
In the second half, Portugal came better, but Bruno Fernandes and Podence failed to reach the desired goal. Spain reacted right away and almost scored again by Asensio on the 52nd minute but defender Edgar Ie stopped the ball very near goal line. Bruma entered on the 56th minute, but it was Spain that got the goal when Deulofeu served Sandro Ramirez. Malaga’s forward in good position gave no chance to Portuguese goalkeeper and scored the 2-0 on the 64th minute.
After Spain’s second goal, Portugal’s coach responded with the entry of Goncalo Paciencia and Ricardo Horta. It was though the other Portuguese substitute Bruma that gave Portugal hope. The player scored the 2-1 with an excellent volley from out of the box.
When additional time was being played, Spain finished any doubt about who would be the winner. Substitute Inaki Williams escaped Portuguese defense and scored the final goal in the last second of the match.
Portugal coach admitted that first place in Group B is “impossible” after the defeat with Spain, but underlined that, no matter what, Portugal will try to win against Macedonia because this is what the team wants.
Rui Jorge also said that this “result doesn’t show what happened in the field” and reminded that Spain was “more effective”. “It was a good game to see”, he concluded.
Spain coach praised his team for “reaching semi-finals in only two games” in a group with “such good teams”. “During qualifying we were not very effective, but now we are being effective. But Portugal also could have scored”, added Albert Celades.