Friday, September 22, 2023

EURO Qualifiers: Spain trounce Cyprus, Belgium win, Italy see off Ukraine

Spain defeated Cyprus, Belgium continued their unbeaten run and Italy won their first home game under Luciano Spalletti in the Euro Qualifiers. Spain comfortably beat Cyprus 6-0 in Group A of European Qualifying, while Belgium kept their unbeaten run going against Estonia with 5-0 win and Italy saw off Ukraine 2-1 on Tuesday.
Spain’s substitutes ran riot in the second half, with Ferran Torres netting twice and Álex Baena scoring on his debut in the victory over Cyprus. UEFA reports.

Prior to the interval, Nico Williams had created the hosts’ opening goals, cutting back for Gavi to volley in, then clipping a cross for Mikel Merino to head home, before the forward limped off. Lamine Yamal also starred on his full debut, going close to scoring when his shot came back off the bar.

After the break, Joselu converted a header from Dani Carvajal’s centre before Torres’s quickfire double. Debutant Baena struck from close range in between to seal a satisfactory night’s work.
Jan Vertonghen scored on his 150th international appearance and captain Romelu Lukaku struck twice inside three second-half minutes as Belgium stayed top of their section by beating Estonia.
Centre-back Vertonghen nodded in after four minutes, and the hosts had further cause for celebration when Leandro Trossard beat three defenders to score his side’s second.

The visitors’ Henri Anier was denied by the woodwork before half-time, but Lukaku’s clinical finishes in the 56th and 58th minutes and Charles De Ketelaere’s effort two minutes from time ensured a comfortable Red Devils win.
Davide Frattesi struck twice as Italy won in coach Luciano Spalletti’s first home match in charge to leapfrog Ukraine into second place in their pool.

Inter midfielder Frattesi made the most of the hosts’ bright start by firing in the 12th-minute opener, then steered the ball past goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan following a ricochet 17 minutes later.
Ukraine replied four minutes before the interval when Andriy Yarmolenko stroked in following Gianluigi Donnarumma’s save to deny Artem Dovbyk.

The Azzurri might have scored more in the second half, Bushchan keeping out Giacomo Raspadori’s drive with his fingertips and seeing Manuel Locatelli’s effort hit the crossbar.

Haaland’s 25th goal helps keep Norway in Euro 2024 hunt
Erling Haaland notched his 25th goal in 26 international appearances to help Norway to a 2-1 win over Georgia on Tuesday that kept their Euro 2024 qualification hopes alive. The 23-year-old striker struck on 25 minutes before captain Martin Odegaard doubled their lead eight minutes later as the home side dominated the match at Oslo’s Ullevaal stadium.

However, with Norway needing all three points to remain in the hunt for one of the two qualifying spots from Group A, Budu Zivzivadze rattled the home side’s nerves by pulling a goal back for Georgia in stoppage time.
Norway manager Stale Solbakken said his side posed a bigger threat as the game wore on.
Norway are third after five matches in the group, eight points behind leaders Scotland and two behind Spain, who have played one game fewer.

Arnautovic double helps Austria to 3-1 win away to sorry Sweden
Austria striker Marko Arnautovic notched two second-half goals as his side comfortably beat Sweden 3-1 in their Group F qualifier at the Friends Arena on Tuesday, dealing a serious blow to the hosts’ hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024.

Belgium, who thrashed Estonia 5-0 in Brussels, top the group on 13 points after five games, ahead of Austria on goal difference. The Swedes are third on six points with Azerbaijan fourth on one point along with bottom side Estonia.

Michael Gregoritsch gave Austria the lead in the 53rd minute as the Swedish defence switched off, rising highest to head Stefan Posch’s cross to the far post into the top-left corner.
Austria made it two three minutes later when a clearance by Sweden defender Isak Hien only went as far as Marcel Sabitzer and he played a first-time ball to Arnautovic, who swivelled and calmly fired home.

Hien’s evening went from bad to worse when he tripped Philipp Mwene in the 68th minute to concede a penalty and Arnautovic stepped up to blast home the spot kick, prompting an exodus of Swedish fans from the stands.
Sweden coach Janne Andersson made a flurry of late changes and substitute Emil Holm pulled a late goal back but Austria easily held on and moved a step closer to qualification.


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