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Nations League | Portugal, Spain share spoils, Haaland scores against Serbia

A objective by Portugal’s Ricardo Horta cancelled out the opener by Spain’s Alvaro Morata in a 1-1 draw within the Nations League

A objective by Portugal’s Ricardo Horta cancelled out the opener by Spain’s Alvaro Morata in a 1-1 draw within the Nations League

Focused on conserving Cristiano Ronaldo in verify, Spain left one other Portugal substitute fully unmarked to spoil the beginning of its bid to succeed in consecutive Nations League finals.

Ricardo Horta scored his first objective for his nation to assist Portugal earn a 1-1 draw at Spain on Thursday. Horta was making simply his second look for Portugal — practically eight years after his worldwide debut again in 2014.

The Braga winger got here on for the ultimate minutes to hitch Ronaldo, who had additionally been on the bench and solely performed the ultimate half hour in Sevilla.

Horta unchecked

Spain’s defenders by no means let worldwide soccer’s all-time prime scorer turn into a menace, however they fully ignored Horta when he made his run into the center of the field within the 82nd minute. João Cancelo discovered him on their own to fireside in his cross.

That canceled out Álvaro Morata’s Twenty fifth-minute opener for Spain, which misplaced final yr’s closing to France.

“This feels good because Spain is a very strong team and we were playing on the road,” Portugal forward Bernardo Silva said. “This is a good result for Portugal.”

Gavi’s brilliance

Teenager Gavi began for Spain in his hometown and helped arrange the opening objective after the 17-year-old Barcelona midfielder stole a move by Cancelo to start out a counterattack. Gavi raced ahead and slid a superbly weighted move ahead for Pablo Sarabia, who squared the ball for the unmarked Morata to attain.

Spain’s Carlos Soler had an opportunity to shoot from the highest of the realm 4 minutes later however hit it straight at goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

Rafael Leão virtually leveled for Portugal within the 59th however goalkeeper Unai Simón obtained a foot on his shot to push it broad. Simón, nonetheless, may do little to maintain out Horta’s strike.

“We failed to finish them off, but we were playing against a great team,” Morata mentioned. “We need to hold working onerous as all the time. There just isn’t weak rival on this group.”

Czechs beat Switzerland

In the identical group in League A, the Czech Republic beat Switzerland 2-1 at residence. Jan Kutcha put the Czechs forward within the eleventh after Switzerland didn’t clear an extended throw-in and Kutcha solely needed to faucet in.

Noah Okafor pulled Switzerland again simply earlier than halftime with a strong shot off the underside of the crossbar, however an personal objective by Djibril Sow handed the Czechs the win.

The 4 group winners in League A will qualify for the Final Four in June subsequent yr. The group winners within the decrease leagues will acquire promotion.

Poland beat Wales 2-1 on Wednesday within the inaugural match of this third version of the UEFA Nations League, which a number of groups will use as preparation for the World Cup in November.

League B

Erling Haaland helped Norway get off to a great begin in League B. The striker, who is ready to hitch Manchester City, scored within the twenty sixth from a move by Marcus Pedersen to down the Serbs in Belgrade.

Sweden additionally gained 2-0 at Slovenia in the identical group. In a unique group in League B, Shon Weissman’s 84th-minute objective earned Israel a 2-2 draw at residence against Iceland.

Lower leagues

Greece obtained a first-half objective from Tasos Bakasetas to win 1-0 at Northern Ireland in Group 2 of League C. Georgia routed Gibraltar 4-0 whereas Bulgaria was held 1-1 at residence by North Macedonia in Group 4 of League C. Estonia beat San Marino 2-0 in League D.

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