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U-21: Portugal Crash Out Despite Win As Spain Keep Up 100% Record

Portugal's midfielder Bruma (L) and Macedonia's defender Egzon Bejtulai vie for the ball during the UEFA U-21 European Championship Group B football match FYR Macedonia vs Portugal in Gdynia, Poland on June 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Maciej GILLERT (Photo credit should read MACIEJ GILLERT/AFP/Getty Images)
U-21: Portugal Crash Out Despite Win As Spain Keep Up 100% Record

Portugal have been dumped out of the European Under-21 Championship despite beating Macedonia 3-2.

Edgar Ie, Daniel Podence and two goals from Bruma handed the Portuguese who are eliminated after coming second.

Before Diogo Jota saw red for a reckless tackle in injury time.

Portugal needed to win by two goals and scored more than three goals to give themselves hope of progressing – with the top side from each of the three groups and the best second placed team going through to the semi-finals.

 

Slovakia remain in pole position to reach the semis with Spain and England, but can still be caught by Germany, Czech Republic or Italy.

Enis Bardhi and Kire Markoski netted for the young Macedonians as they finish bottom of the group with just a single point.

In the other game, Barcelona starlet Denis Suarez crashed Alvaro Odriozola’s pull back into the net to keep up their 100 per cent record.

Spain dominated after the break, and Serbia never came close to an equaliser.

La Roja had little left to play for and it showed early, as Serbia made a fast start and nearly took the lead through Milos Veljkovic. The defender fired over after a dangerous corner and really should have done better.

Spain were happy to rest a bunch of starters ahead of the knockout stages, however the team still included stars like Inaki Williams and Mikel Oyarzabal.

Spain improved as the half wore on and a goal seemed inevitable inside the first 45 minutes. It was Suarez who came through after lovely interplay between Williams and Alvaro Odriozola, with the latter grabbing the assist.

 

Soler missed a golden opportunity to double the lead just two minutes after the opener, and Djurdjevic gifted all momentum to the Spaniards shortly before half-time, getting himself sent off for an elbow on Mikel Merino. While the forward was furious with the decision, replays showed the official was correct to send him off.

Suarez almost doubled his tally early in the second half, but goalkeeper Manojlovic, who gave away the chance, redeemed himself with the save.

La Roja easily controlled the ball, with Serbia sitting deep, and Williams headed a great chance wide after good work from Oyarzabal.

 

Nemanja Maksimovic fired a rare chance at Lopez, but the second half was one-way traffic. Manojlovic made a spectacular save to deny Mayoral, but there would be no more goals, as Spain cruised to a win.

Spain will face Germany, if they win tomorrow, or Slovakia in the semi-finals.

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@alexclapham

An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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