Goals in each half helped Spain beat the Czech Republic in Malaga in their fourth 2022/23 UEFA Nations League A, Group 2 encounter.
A fast start by the Czechs threatened to silence an otherwise raucous home crowd that had gathered to watch Luis Enrique’s side in their fourth group game this season. However, Unai Simon’s early saves from Vaclav Cerny and Jan Kuchta kept the Czechs at bay, helping the home side grow into the game.
The Spanish custodian parried away Cerny’s shot from distance after Spain had conceded possession cheaply before positioning himself perfectly to keep Kuchta’s effort away from his net.
Simon’s efforts were rewarded at the other end in the 24th minute when Carlos Soler gave La Roja the lead. The Valencia midfielder burst through the middle of the box and connected with a Marco Asensio pull-back the first time of asking, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
The goal helped settle Spain’s nerves both on and off the pitch. Enrique’s team took control of the game and drew further saves out of the Czech goalkeeper Ales Mandous before the half came to a close.
It took the Spaniards until the 75th minute to score the insurance goal and settle the result. The in-form Pablo Sarabia produced when it mattered yet again, tapping in Ferran Torres’s arrowed cross at the back post. The win helped the home side leapfrog Portugal in the table, for now.
Meanwhile, the winners of the inaugural edition squandered the opportunity to end the international break on top of the group a minute into their game against winless Switzerland.
Fernando Santos’s men fell behind mere seconds after kick-off as Haris Seferovic headed a Silvan Widmer cross past custodian Rui Patricio’s flailing arms.
At the other end, Jonas Omlin enjoyed a good performance while keeping the Portuguese attackers at bay. The goalkeeper denied Danilo Pereira in the first half, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, and Bruno Fernandes in the second, as Switzerland held onto their narrow lead to seal the win.