2020-21 UEFA Nations League: Match Reports
2020-21 UEFA Nations League: Match Reports
Germany 1, Spain 1 – Stuttgart, Germany – Group A4
Last gasp goal by Jose Gaya saves Spain from rare defeat
Spain grabbed a 95th minute equalizer away in Stuttgart, Germany to open their 2020-21 UEFA Nations campaign after a ten-month hiatus owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
£54 million Chelsea acquisition and ex-Leipzig star Timo Werner struck for the hosts 6 minutes into the second half when he drilled past David de Gea from the edge of the box.
The game had a thrilling touch to it despite both teams playing after a long international break. Spain had come into the match on an 11-game unbeaten spell and only some smart goalkeeping from Manchester United's David de Gea prevented the Iberians from going down to a couple of early goals.
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A new-look Germany, without Manuel Neuer and other Bayern Munich stars blundered through the early stages with defensive lapses that gave Spain their only two chances in the first half through Rodrigo.
The record Leeds United £26m signing blew a chance to score when he latched on to a ball that Julian Draxler failed to control and shot straight at goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
The hosts had their chances too before the interval with Thilo Kehrer and Julian Draxler coming close to scoring. A brilliant curling shot from Leroy Sane that looked goalbound brought off the best in De Gea.
The hosts again missed a clean opportunity to score when Sane scuffed a pass to a totally unmarked Werner in the box.
However, Werner made the breakthrough shortly after the restart, with another assured finish in the 52nd minute and could have doubled Die Mannschaft's advantage a little later when he shot into the side-netting, moments after Rodrigo had clipped the roof of the net at the other end.
There was hope from Spain post half-time when Luis Enrique introduced Barcelona prodigy 17-year old Ansu Fati – the youngest player to represent Spain since 1936.
The Bissau-born youngster nearly landed a dream debut when he headed past Trapp in injury-time but the referee had already blown the whistle for a foul by Sergio Ramos.
Just when Spain looked all set to fail to score for the first time after 40 consecutive games and lose their first game after 2016, drama ensued.
Twenty-year old Ferran Torres. Manchester City's new signing from Valencia, making his Spanish debut, essayed a lovely cross into the box for Rodrigo to head to Jose Gaya who bundled in the equalizer dramatically seconds from the final whistle.
This was the first competitive meeting between the two European powerhouses since Spain overcame Germany in South Africa on their way to winning the 2010 World Cup.
Finland 0, Wales 1 – Helsinki Olympic Stadium – Group B4
Kieffer Moore scores late; Wales move to the top of Group
Cardiff City forward Kieffer Moore kept up his good record in international games when he scored a 80th-minute goal to give Wales a 1-0 victory over Finland in their Nations League opener in Helsinki.
This was Moore's third goal for his country from eight games. The 28-year old forward seemed to have put Wales ahead in as early as the 4th minute from a Daniel James delivery but his goal was ruled out for a push in the build-up.
Barring that, there wasn't much goal-mouth action as a uninspiring first half came to a close. So much so, that Welsh mega-star Gareth Bale had to be taken off by Ryan Giggs at half-time for a ineffective performance.
Things spruced up after the interval when Finland defender Leo Vaisanen hit the post from just four yards off back cross by Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki.
Wales recovered from the sluggish start post interval and they began to enjoy more territory but not threatening Bayer Leverkusen custodian Lukas Hradecky.
With not much goal-bound activity happening a rare lapse in defensive lapse on the part of the hosts allowed Daniel James to run down from the left after collecting a Ben Davies through-ball and deliver a low ball into the six-yard box, leaving Moore the simple task of tapping home.
Finland failed to add spark to the proceedings in the
final 10 minutes as they sought out an equalizer to no avail. A desperate headed attempt in the final minute from goalie Lukas Hradecky from a Fredrik Jensen corner went wide to the left.
The win at Helsinki helped the Welsh jump to the top of the group after Ireland drew 1-1 with Bulgaria in the cluster's other game.
Scores from some other games played on September 3rd
- Latvia 0, Andorra 0
- Bulgaria 1, Republic of Ireland 1
- Faroe Islands 3, Malta 2
- Moldova 1, Kosovo 1
- Russia 3 Serbia 1
- Slovenia 0, Greece 0
- Turkey 0, Hungary 1
- Ukraine 2, Switzerland 1
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