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Spain's late redemption breaks Belarus hearts

Published: Wednesday 22 June 2011, 20.45CET
Two goals by Adrián López, the first an 89th-minute equaliser, and Jeffren Suárez's spectacular drive earned Spain a semi-final victory after extra time against brave Belarus.
by Patrick Hart
from Viborg Stadion

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Match statistics

SpainBelarus

Goals scored3
 
1
Attempts on target9
 
1
Attempts off target13
 
3
Corners11
 
4
Fouls committed15
 
20
Yellow cards3
 
4
Red Cards0
 
0

Standings

Published: Wednesday 22 June 2011, 20.45CET

Spain's late redemption breaks Belarus hearts

Two goals by Adrián López, the first an 89th-minute equaliser, and Jeffren Suárez's spectacular drive earned Spain a semi-final victory after extra time against brave Belarus.

Spain had the predatory instincts of Adrián López to thank as they came from behind to defeat a brave Belarus side 3-1 after extra time in their UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final.

With Belarus making of mockery of their underdog status, Spain needed an 89th-minute equaliser from Adrián before the same player headed them in front and Jeffren Suárez clinched the win.

Yet for so long in Viborg, the two-time U21 champions were in trouble against debutant semi-finalists. Andrei Voronkov's acrobatic goal after 38 minutes, along with a remarkably disciplined team performance, looked like making possible Belarus's mission improbable against many people's tournament favourites.

There was unaccustomed hesitancy in the Spanish ranks from the start. Alberto Botía fluffed his lines after Belarus only half-cleared theirs, the defender caught between aiming his free header towards goal and trying to feed Adrián. Pavel Nekhaychik also failed to take advantage when the Spain defence reacted slowly to Maksim Skavysh's pull-back.

Fair to say Spain's tiki-taka football wasn't ticking along quite so nicely as during their victorious Group B campaign. Yegor Filipenko stuck to Adrián when Ander Herrera sent the tournament's top scorer clear, although Ander was centimetres from turning in Dídac Vila's cross. That Dídac chose to shoot from distance soon after, attested to the excellent work of Georgi Kondratyev's troops in protecting their back line.

Voronkov combined supporting frontrunner Skavysh with dropping back to reinforce a midfield in which Aleksandr Perepechko and Nekhaychik tucked inside to assist skipper Mikhail Sivakov and Stanislav Dragun.

Their reward came when Voronkov conjured the overhead finish after Sivakov applied the all-important flick to Perepechko‘s long throw. If the ball seemed to take an age crossing the goal line, it was time enough for the realisation of Spain's predicament to sink in: for the first time in the finals, they were behind.

The Spaniards' best first-half moment – Ander escaping the shackles to get a header to Iker Muniain's centre which goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor saved – was a portent of their survival strategy. The template was the same when Martín Montoya dinked one of innumerable crosses into the Belarusian box and the inrushing Juan Mata somehow failed to glance it home.

Belarus's emergence from Group A with just three points had surprised some observers. They were also puzzling Milla's men, though it was a conundrum Spain looked capable of solving. Adrián struck the outside of the post from Dídac's centre before forcing Gutor into two smart stops. That said, much of Spain's possession came 25 metres from goal and with an obstinate opponent in between. When Dragun's run resulted in a half-chance for Skavysh, Belarus's growing self-assertion was clear.

Diego Capel, Jeffren and Bojan Krkić were introduced to provide the spark, yet Spanish fires appeared to have been doused until Thiago Alcántara supplied Jeffren to deliver a cross that Adrián flashed in at Gutor's near post. Kondratyev had called for a best-ever Belarusian display and it arguably deserved better than last-minute heartache.

After Mata had twice threatened to cause further upset, Adrián did precisely that by nodding in his fifth goal of the championship from Capel's enticing cross at the close of the first overtime period. Jeffren's fine drive seven minutes from the end finally sealed the issue.

Last updated: 27/03/13 4.01CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2011/matches/round=2000003/match=2003417/postmatch/report/index.html#spain+belarus

Lineups

Spain

Spain

Belarus

Belarus

13
De GeaDavid de Gea (GK)
1
GutorAleksandr Gutor (GK)
3
Álvaro DomínguezÁlvaro Domínguez
Substitution77
2
DragunStanislav Dragun
4
Javi MartínezJavi Martínez (C)
Yellow Card115 ET
4
PolitevichSergei Politevich
7
Adrián LópezAdrián López
Yellow Card36
Goal89
Goal105 ET
7
SivakovMikhail Sivakov (C)
Yellow Card67
10
Juan MataJuan Mata
9
SkavyshMaksim Skavysh
Yellow Card37
Substitution84
12
MontoyaMartín Montoya
10
PerepechkoAleksandr Perepechko
Substitution61
17
Dídac VilàDídac Vilà
11
VoronkovAndrei Voronkov
Goal38
Substitution69
18
Ander HerreraAnder Herrera
Substitution58
13
NekhaychikPavel Nekhaychik
Yellow Card17
19
Thiago AlcántaraThiago Alcántara
18
Polyakov                      Denis Polyakov
20
BotíaAlberto Botía
Yellow Card80
20
VeretiloOleg Veretilo
Yellow Card90+4
22
MuniainIker Muniain
Substitution70
21
FilipenkoYegor Filipenko

Substitutes

1
MiñoRubén Miño (GK)
22
GuschenkoDmitri Guschenko (GK)
23
MariñoDiego Mariño (GK)
5
BagaDmitri Baga
Substitution61
2
AzpilicuetaCésar Azpilicueta
6
OstroukhYuri Ostroukh
5
San JoséMikel San José
8
BukatkinNikita Bukatkin
Substitution69
6
Jeffren SuárezJeffren Suárez
Substitution70
Goal113 ET
14
RyzhkoYuri Ryzhko
8
ParejoDaniel Parejo
15
RekishDmitri Rekish
Substitution84
9
Bojan KrkićBojan Krkić
Substitution77
16
GordeychukMikhail Gordeychuk
11
CapelDiego Capel
Substitution58
17
GayduchikVitali Gayduchik
14
NsueEmilio Nsue
19
SavostyanovEvgeni Savostyanov
15
José ÁngelJosé Ángel
23
KhvaschinskiVladimir Khvaschinski
16
Víctor RuizVíctor Ruiz
21
Rubén PérezRubén Pérez

Coach

Luis Milla (ESP) Georgi Kondratiev (BLR)

Referee

Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)

Assistant referees

Vytautas Šimkus (LTU), Venâncio Tomé (POR)

Fourth official

Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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