By Andy Hall
Second-half strikes from Héctor Font and Jonathan Soriano gave Spain victory against Lithuania in Onteniente this evening and kept their hopes alive in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 3.
Spain dominated play for the entire first period but were unable to break though Lithuania's stubborn rearguard. Andrés Iniesta forced a superb reflex save from Mindaugas Malinauskas as early as the fourth minute.
On 20 minutes, Fernando Llorente fired into the side-netting as Spain increased the pressure then Font curled a shot just over. Lithuania's chances were restricted to a direct free-kick from captain Tomas Mikuckis, which was deflected over.
Spain were able to capitalise on a much more open second half as Font wriggled his way through a congested box to side-foot inside the far post on 59 minutes. Soriano sealed victory with a sublime lob from 25 metres in the 72nd minute after Spain had lost captain Iniesta to a groin injury.
Spain can now catch leaders Belgium on 14 points and overtake Serbia and Montenegro with victory in the only Group 7 game on Tuesday, at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Lithuania, now six points off second place, visit Serbia and Montenegro on 2 September.