Spain storm into Azerbaijan
20 april 2010 14:15
Spain swept into the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final tournament for the fifth year in a row with a 4-0 defeat of Azerbaijan in Eskisehir.
Luis Milla's side needed to win to make sure of edging out mini-tournament hosts Turkey and Norway and claiming first place in Group 4, and duly began brightly with Rubén Rochina twice and Thiago Alcantara going close in the early exchanges. The opening goal finally arrived in the 29th minute, Rochina holding off two defenders to score, and two minutes later it was 2-0 as the FC Barcelona forward turned in a fine left-wing cross from Daniel Pacheco.
The points were effectively secured in the 36th minute, Thiago converting from the penalty spot after Tural Isgandarov had been penalised, although Spain kept pressing forward in the second period. The fourth goal duly arrived with 20 minutes left, Rodrigo Moreno scoring at the second attempt after Salahat Aghayev had saved his header from Sergio Gontan's cross, while Azerbaijan – who finish in fourth place – ended with ten men after substitute Elgiz Karamli collected a second yellow card in the 86th minute.
"We drew our first match, because all the teams were in good physical condition then," said Milla, who also led Spain into last summer's finals in Ukraine. "After that, we've played [two] matches when the teams were tired, which is why we beat Azerbaijan by this score. Everything was even until first goal, and it was important for us to get it as quickly as possible."