Swiss Goalkeeper Goof Gives Spain 1-0 Win In Nations League
Spain's Ansu Fati, left, attempts a shot on goal as Switzerland's Nico Elvedi goes to block during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Spain and Switzerland in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
MADRID: Spain needed a passing blunder by Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer to secure a 1-0 win and keep the lead of its Nations League group on Saturday.
Sommer got flustered by Spains pressure and passed the ball past his teammate and directly to Mikel Merino, who set up Real Sociedad clubmate Mikel Oyarzabal to score the games only goal in the 14th minute.
Where Sommer let his team down, David de Gea rescued Spain.
Switzerlands only scoring opportunity came before Oyarzabals goal. Silvan Widmer got free on a counterattack and his pass across the area reached fellow wing back Loris Benito arriving alone on the left side. De Gea, however, made a great one-handed save to parry Benitos powerful strike.
Spain leads Group 4 with 7 points. Germany has 5 points after beating Ukraine 2-1 also on Saturday, leaving Ukraine with 3 points. The Swiss are last with 1 point.
Teenage sensation Ansu Fati, who became Spains youngest goal-scorer at age 17 after making his international debut last month, was back in the starting 11 after not playing in a friendly against Portugal that ended 0-0 on Wednesday.
Fati was mostly kept in check, like the rest of his teammates, and coach Luis Enrique substituted him for Adama Traore in the second half.
Traore, who made his international debut against Portugal, slalomed past three defenders on his first touch. His second possession ended with him putting in a dangerous cross.
But other than those flashes by Traore, it was a match that might make Luis Enrique doubt about his choices as he tries to established a new generation of players capable of challenging for a major title.
Oyarzabal wasted a good chance to score a second goal from close range when he deflected Jesus Navas cross wide from close. Merino shot high from the heart of the area. Ferran Torres offered little on the right flank.
The team was strong in defense, though, with Pau Torres complementing Sergio Ramos in the center of the backline and the teams pressure never letting the Swiss get any rhythm in attack.
The game was played without fans at Real Madrids training stadium.
Spain visits Ukraine on Tuesday.
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