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Switzerland silence dogged Belgium resistance

Switzerland 4-1 Belgium
Yannick Schwery's side kicked off Group A with victory but the scoreline did not tell the tale of a game that was in the balance until a minute from time.

Switzerland celebrate their second goal against Belgium
Switzerland celebrate their second goal against Belgium ©Sportsfile

Switzerland opened their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship campaign with a comprehensive looking victory over Belgium, though the 4-1 scoreline did not tell the whole story of a tense game.

Yannick Schwery's side were cruising when, after a sluggish start, they moved through the gears before half-time, Eseosa Aigbogun and Corina Saner putting them two goals to the good. Yet Belgium halved the deficit before the hour through substitute Maria-Laura Aga and were the width of the post away from making it 2-2 13 minutes from time. Switzerland held on, however, goals from Michelle Probst and Nadine Fässler sealing the Group A spoils.

On their return to this level for the first time since 2006 Belgium made a steady start but undid all their good work on 23 minutes, Cora Canetta catching defender Kimberly Verbist in possession and releasing Aigbogun. One-on-one with the goalkeeper, she made no mistake with a cool finish. Verbist partially redeemed herself with a last-ditch tackle to stop Canetta going clear soon after, but there was nothing anyone could do to prevent left-back Saner's searing drive ten minutes before half-time.

Quirina D'Haeseleir denied Cinzia Jörg and Aigbogun as Switzerland turned up the heat, but they lost all impetus at the interval. Belgium captain Justine Vanhaevermaet and Tessa Wullaert gained control of midfield and on 58 minutes Aga fired in, direct from a free-kick. Jana Coryn hit the upright with a powerful drive as Belgium went in search of the most unlikely of equalisers but Switzerland responded well.

Aigbogun struck the post herself before Probst calmed nerves when her free-kick somehow found a way past D'Haeseleir. Three minutes into added time substitute Fässler made sure after a fine solo run from Natasha Gensetter.