Malaga [Spain], June 13 (ANI): Spain showed their squad depth with a 2-0 defeat of the Czech Republic which maintained La Roja’s unbeaten record in UEFA Nations League Group A2 and moved them top of the section.
Spain had almost 75% possession when these sides drew on Matchday 2, and the hosts continued where they left off by dominating the early stages in Malaga, Alvaro Morata forcing Ales Mandous to tip his cross out of Dani Olmo’s path.
The patience their opponents showed in that game initially served the Czech Republic well again, readily punishing misplaced passes with slick attacking moves. Unai Simon pawed Vaclav Cerny’s low strike away, then Jan Kuchta was denied by the goalkeeper.
Jaroslav Silhavy looked on disbelieving that his side had not gone ahead, and the Czech coach’s frustration was compounded six minutes later. Carlos Soler produced a ruthless finish after Marco Asensio picked out the Valencia livewire’s late run inside the penalty area, then shot wide when the pair combined again as Spain threatened to overwhelm the visitors.
There were fewer chances during the second half, although Jakub Pesek lofted an inviting opportunity onto the roof of Unai Simon’s net and Gavi added energy and intent to Spain’s attacks in the closing stages.
The Barcelona teenager’s turn of pace was pivotal in Spain’s second, launching a sweeping move that culminated in Ferran Torres tailoring a cross to meet an expert run from Pablo Sarabia, who tapped in to put his side out of sight.
Victory earned Spain the top spot in the section by a point, capitalising on Portugal’s defeat in Switzerland and moving La Roja four clear of Silhavy’s third-placed side.
Luis Enrique, Spain coach after the match said: “I am happy for many players who played a great game today. We could have finished the game in the first half with a couple more chances besides the goal. It was a hard-fought match and we had to work for it because our opponents played at a high level. The atmosphere was wonderful and I want to thank the fans in Malaga.”
Spain have scored in 18 successive matches and in 15 of their last 16 UEFA Nations League matches. La Roja are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with the Czech Republic, winning five times. Excluding penalty shoot-outs, Spain have lost only two of their last 27 games. (ANI)