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Spain see off ten-man Belgium

Spain 4-1 Belgium
The four-time champions won their rearranged Group B game with goals in the final quarter from Paco Alcácer, Juan Muñiz and Álvaro Morata.

Captain Pablo Sarabia celebrates putting Spain in front
Captain Pablo Sarabia celebrates putting Spain in front ©Sportsfile

Spain opened their UEFA European Under-19 Championship campaign with victory against ten-man Belgium in an entertaining encounter.

Ginés Meléndez's side took an early lead thanks to Pablo Sarabia's spot kick after Belgium goalkeeper Koen Casteels had been sent off. The ten men were back on level terms less than 60 seconds after half-time thanks to Florent Cuvelier's powerful, low strike but subtitute Paco Alcácer came off the bench to restore the Spanish advantage before Juan Muñiz and Álvaro Morata added gloss to the win in added time.

Having seen their previous attempt to complete this fixture fail due to adverse weather conditions 24 hours before, the teams' return to Mogosoaia was greeted with sunny skies and it was the four-time winners who struck first. A constant menace down the Spanish right, FC Barcelona's Gerard Deulofeu created confusion when his pass into into the area led to a goalmouth scramble which resulted in Casteels fouling Morata. The No1 duly saw red and it got worse for Belgium seconds later after Pablo Sarabia sent substitute Thomas Kaminski the wrong way with the resulting spot kick.

Marc Van Geersom's side came close to equalising shortly afterwards, Ignasi Miquel's slip allowing Maxime Lestienne a shot which Edgar Badia had to parry. With the advantage of the extra man, however, Spain soon regained control, Morata and Jon Aurtenetxe going close, although Jannes Van Steenkiste was doing his best to keep up Belgian morale, producing a clever nutmeg before shooting over.

It was that spirit that helped the Red Devils stun their opponents with an equalising goal a minute after the restart. Thorgan Hazard's shot from distance was blocked by the Spanish defence, yet fell kindly for team-mate Florent Cuvelier to drill under Badia from the edge of the area.

A winner of this tournament on three previous occasions, Meléndez spotted the need for several changes in his lineup and it was two of them who combined to produce Spain's second goal, Muñiz's centre steered in by Alcácer. Gallego himself added a third with an unstoppable left-foot drive from distance, before crossing for Morata to crown a convincing victory.