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Spain ease away against Serbia

Spain 3-0 Serbia
Goals from Raquel Pinel, Ivana Andrés and Nagore Calderón ensured a winning Group B start for Spain against the surprise qualifiers.

Ivana Andrés is mobbed after scoring Spain's second
Ivana Andrés is mobbed after scoring Spain's second ©Sportsfile

Spain could not have wished for a better start to their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, easing to a 3-0 Group B win against first-time qualifiers Serbia.

The match itself could hardly have begun any brighter, either, as they surged into the lead after just six minutes through Raquel Pinel's cross-shot. Ivana Andrés and Nagore Calderón confirmed victory late on and Spain are well placed for the crucial match against England on Friday.

Pinel had seen a chance come and go by the time she got her goal, Serbia keeper Nevena Stojaković racing out to save at the forward's feet. Despite that impressive start however, Stojaković misjudged the trajectory of Pinel's arcing back-post ball three minutes later, and the underdogs found themselves with a hill to climb almost immediately. The goal may not have been pretty, but it was a perfect start for Spain, and set the tone for the rest of the contest, as they controlled proceedings. 

Pinel almost put her side two up five minutes later, forcing Stojaković into another save after the keeper had mis-cued a clearance, while on 16 minutes Marina Garcia's powerful effort had the Serbian custodian beaten, but the ball clipped the crossbar on its way over.

Despite their domination, and several more opportunities falling their way, Spain were unable to double their lead until the 71st minute. Ivana was the player to do it, meeting Amanda Sampedro's cross with an emphatic header after a neatly-worked short corner caught Serbia cold.

With five minutes remaining Serbia gave Spain a scare, but the Serbian attack found Dolores Gallardo in top form, denying her opponents with a terrific double-save. Any concerns the Spanish had were alleviated on 88 minutes, as Calderón latched onto Alexia Putellas's slide-rule pass and tucked the ball inside the right post to seal a fine win for a squad many of who won the U17 title two years ago.

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