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UEFA Nations League: Spain Held by Czech Republic as Gavi Becomes Youngest Scorer

AFP

Last Updated: June 06, 2022, 07:28 IST

Prague

UEFA Nations League: Spain and Czech Republic (AP)

UEFA Nations League: Spain and Czech Republic (AP)

Gavi became Spain's youngest scorer ever as they played out a 2-2 draw against Czech Republic in the UEFA Nations League

Gavi became Spain’s youngest scorer ever and Inigo Martinez headed home a late equaliser as Spain drew 2-2 with the Czech Republic in the Nations League in Prague on Sunday.

Gavi scored with a low curling left-footer at the record age of 17 years and 304 days, levelling the first-half score at 1-1 just before halftime.

Martinez blasted his header just over the line off the crossbar in the last minute of the game to hand Spain a draw.

The Czechs went up twice with counter-attack goals by Jakub Pesek and Jan Kuchta in the Group B, League A game.

“We didn’t feel well most of the time and didn’t do as well as we had wanted,” said La Roja coach Luis Enrique.

“We lacked fluency so the game was really tough.”

Enrique swapped eight players in his starting XI from Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Portugal as only goalkeeper Unai Simon, Gavi and Pablo Sarabia kept their posts.

His men were dominant throughout but it was the hosts who struck first only four minutes into the game.

Vladimir Coufal started a fast counter-attack on the right flank, finding a sprinting Kuchta who produced a perfect pass for a tap-in by Pesek.

The Sparta Prague midfielder was scoring his fifth goal in 12 international games.

Gavi levelled three minutes into the first-half stoppage time following a pass from Rodri who had capitalised on a poor clearance.

Spain kept pushing but the hosts struck on a counter-attack again in the 66th minute as Vaclav Cerny sent Kuchta dashing through the defence and the striker chipped the ball over an advancing Simon.

Second-half substitutes Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres hit the post, while Kuchta missed narrowly on the other side on yet another counter-attack.

With a minute to go, Asensio found Martinez with a cross from the left side and the Athletic Bilbao defender was on target.

“The game was difficult from the very start,” said Enrique.

“We created more chances, but especially in the first half we had a problem playing against the strong and aggressive opponent with an outstanding defence.”

Spain will next face Switzerland in Geneva on June 9 while the Czechs are due to take on Portugal in Lisbon on the same day.

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first published:June 06, 2022, 07:28 IST
last updated:June 06, 2022, 07:28 IST