Lovric strike earns Austria a point against Spain
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Spain 1-1 Austria
Having fallen behind to Carles Aleña's penalty, Austria salvaged a point from their Group A opener thanks to Sandi Lovric's effort.
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• Spain, in the finals for the first time since 2010, score first through Carles Aleña's penalty
• Sandi Lovric, who made his first league start for SK Sturm Graz last month, levels
• Austria go close to a winner through Oliver Filip and Patrick Schmidt
• Next matches: Croatia v Austria, Bulgaria v Spain (Saturday)
Spain and Austria got the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship under way with a 1-1 draw in Burgas.
Playing in their first finals for five years, two-time winners Spain were quickly into their stride in the Group A opener, stroking the ball around with ease and threatening down the flanks. It was from one of their early forays, however, that they were almost caught out. Oliver Filip sprinted half the length of the field following a Spain corner and forced a save out of Alejandro Santomé.
Santi Denia's side responded with tricky left-winger Daniel Olmo, who has made five league appearances for GNK Dinamo Zagreb this season, cutting inside and stinging the palms of Fabian Ehmann. The Barcelona-born player, 17 tomorrow, executed a similar manoeuvre midway through the half, his shot this time being blocked.
The breakthrough, six minutes into the second period, was a product of a delivery from the the opposite side of the field to Olmo, half-time substitute Carles Pérez quickly making his mark with a cross that was handled by Anes Omerovic. Captain Carles Aleña did the rest from the spot.
The lead lasted 16 minutes. After Arnel Jakupovic had given Spain a warning by dragging a shot wide, Sandi Lovric, a first-teamer at SK Sturm Graz, took receipt of Albin Ramadani's pass on the right of the penalty box. His deflected effort flew past Santomé.
Manfred Zsak's Austria looked the more likely to find a winner as the contest approached the 80-minute mark, Filip driving across goal and Patrick Schmidt firing over from the edge of the box.
Santi Denia, Spain coach
We played well in the first 20 minutes and our transitions were very good. In the last ten minutes we were tired, missed a chance and had difficulty moving the ball from defence to attack. We wanted to win the first match. My players did everything they could, putting a lot of effort in, but a point is good, we'll keep working and hopefully we'll win the next one.
Manfred Zsak, Austria coach
We got more or less what we expected from Spain. We focused on them in training and knew they were very strong in midfield, so we tried to isolate them in the centre of the pitch. The players showed good tactical discipline and managed to come back after conceding the first goal. It's good for our confidence to have gained a point against one of the favourites for the title.