The Spanish soccer team beat Cyprus (1-3) this Thursday on the penultimate day of the qualifying phase for Euro 2024, a procedure against an inferior rival, bottom of Group A without points and with a bag of goals against, to maintain their good line and their goal of being seeded in the draw. The distribution of the final phase of the next EURO will be on December 2 and Spain wants to be among the five best, plus the host Germany, to a priori have a more affordable rival. Lamine Yamal, Mikel Oyarzabal and Joselu Mato resolved the duel at the Limassol Stadium with a 3-0 score after half an hour, although Luis de la Fuente’s men lowered the intensity in the second half. The ‘Roja’, with new debuts from Alejandro Grimaldo, Rodrigo Riquelme and Aleix García, easily overcame a numerous but ineffective local defensive network, with gaps that the Nations League champion found quickly and well. Two minutes later a warning came from a corner kick and, five minutes later, a well-moved ball between Joselu, Gavi and Mikel Merino was caught by Yamal to make it 0-1. The young man from FC Barcelona scored his second goal for the national team, after his historic debut, with pause and quality in the cut. Coach Timiur Ketsbaia, whistled by his audience at the presentation, formed almost two lines of five, but he lacked faith and tension at the back to avoid the rout. In the 24th minute, Oyarzabal scored a goal, which in turn marked the negative note of the match. De la Fuente’s team continued playing to their heart’s content, with Zubimendi, a good leader without Rodrigo, sending another chance to the post and the visitors winning every raffled ball, until Joselu scored 0-3. The Real Madrid striker finished off a corner kick with his foot alone in the small area. Spain complied and Cyprus collaborated a lot, as it had been doing in a UEFA phase of defeats per game. Before the break, a steal by Joselu gave the pass of death to Oyarzabal who was injured during the stretch, asking for a change immediately. The worst news of the afternoon in Limassol, especially for a Real team that had been enjoying the best version of its captain after his last long injury. Riquelme came on for the ‘txuri-urdin’ and at half-time there were more changes in both teams. SPAIN RELAXES WITHOUT COMPLICATION Cyprus had to try something, with nothing to lose, after a single shot on goal from Kastanos, and the local exchanges worked. Those from Ketsbaia had some ball and play in the opposite field, while Spain lost depth, with Aleix García failing to show his level in Girona in his international debut. The ‘Roja’ had possession but found no space and it was enough for the stands to make the wave and call it a day. A soft shot by Joselu was the visitor’s awakening, but Spain had no continuity at the top. Instead, Cyprus found inspiration in a great pass from Charalampous that Pileas converted to make it 1-3, the first Cypriot goal in five games. The VAR was close to spoiling the party, due to a possible foul on Gavi, but the referee did not think it was enough to annul the goal. Cyprus was 0-20 until that goal and Limassol was a party. Ferran did not improve Spain’s offensive presence in a weak closing but with three points without breaking a sweat. Scotland avoided defeat (2-2) in stoppage time against Georgia, so Spain still has duties for Sunday at the José Zorrilla against the Georgians: win to secure first place and deserve that seeding status for the draw. the EURO. DATA SHEET. –RESULT: CYPRUS, 1 – SPAIN, 3. (0-3, at half-time). –ALIGNMENTS. CYPRUS: Moll; Andreou, Karo (Kousoulos, min.66), Gogic, Laifis, Ioannou; Kyriakou (Charalampous, rest), Kyprianou (Spoljaric, rest), Kastanos, Anderson Correia (Pileas, rest); and Pittas (Kakoullis, min.60). SPAIN: Raya; Navas (Carvajal, min.66), Le Normand (David García, rest), Pau Torres, Grimaldo; Zubimendi, Merino (Aleix García, rest); Yamal (Ferran, min.73), Gavi, Oyarzabal (Riquelme, min.40); and Joselu. –GOALS: 0 – 1, min.5, Lamine Yamal. 0 – 2, min.24, Oyarzabal. 0 – 3, min.28, Joselu. 1 – 3, min.75, Pileas. –REFEREE: Mykola Balakin (UCR). He cautioned Correia (min.17), Karo (min.59), Kousoulos (min.77) and Spoljaric (min.87) for Cyprus. And Riquelme (min.82) in Spain. –STADIUM: Limassol Stadium.
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