Nations League: Germany, Spain register slim victories
Mikel Oyarzabal pounced on a horror slip by Swiss captain Granit Xhaka to seal a 1-0 victory for Spain in the Nations League on Saturday.
The night’s other League A Group 4 match saw Germany beat Ukraine 2-1 in Kiev.
At the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in Madrid, usually home of Real Madrid’s second string side, Real Sociedad striker Oyarzabal struck in the 14th minute.
The Swiss boldly tried to play out from the back, but Xhaka slipped as he sought to collect goalkeeper Yann Sommer’s pass.
Mikel Merino pounced and threaded the ball through to clubmate Oyarzabal, who finished superbly past Sommer.
In Kiev, Germany picked up a first win in their Nations League group with a workmanlike 2-1 away victory over the Ukrainians.
Defender Matthias Ginter gave Germany a first-half lead, then Leon Goretzka capitalised on a horrible mistake by the Ukraine goalkeeper before Ruslan Malinovskyi converted a late penalty for the hosts.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said he was “satisfied” with the away win, but admitted “we should have been three or four goals ahead before they scored”.
“In some phases we gave the ball away too easily.”
After drawing their opening Nations League games against Spain and Switzerland, then being held 3-3 by Turkey in a friendly on Wednesday, the win lifted Germany to second in the group behind Spain.
However, Germany can expect a much tougher task against the Swiss in Cologne on Tuesday and should have scored more having enjoyed around 75% posession against a weakened Ukraine side.
In the evening’s other games, Luxembourg beat Cyprus 2-0 and Montenegro eased past Azerbaijan by the same scoreline in Group 1 of League C.
In League D action, the Faroe Islands were held to a 1-1 draw at home against Latvia and Andorra fought out a goalless draw with Malta in Group 1, while Gibraltar edged Liechtenstein 1-0 in Group 2.