Switzerland seal win in Latvia

Latvia 0-2 Switzerland
First-half goals from captain Pajtim Kasami and Darko Jevtic ensured Switzerland opened qualifying Group 5 with victory.

Fulham FC's Pajtim Kasami opened the scoring
Fulham FC's Pajtim Kasami opened the scoring ©Action Images

Switzerland opened their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win in Latvia.

The home side had made a good start to Group 5 by beating Liechtenstein 4-0 in June, but on their return to Jurmala were outplayed. Following a quiet start, Switzerland took a 24th-minute lead through Pajtim Kasami and Darko Jevtic added the clincher before the break.

For the opener, Kasami took full advantage from 11 metres out when Latvia goalkeeper Dmitrijs Grigorjevs collided with Jevtic in the box. Jevtic himself scored 12 minutes later, turning the ball in after Grigorjevs could only parry Salim Khelifi's cross-cum-shot from the left.

Beaten in the play-offs for the 2013 finals but runners-up two years before, Switzerland picked up the pace after the break, with Michael Frey having a shot blocked on the line and late on Grigorjevs stopped Oliver Buff's free-kick.

Latvia also pushed and Artūrs Karašausks's long-range effort was tipped away from the top corner by Switzerland goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel, while some late free-kicks by Valerijs Čistjakovs came to nothing.

On Monday, Switzerland make the short trip to Liechtenstein. Latvia return to action against Ukraine on 14 October.