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Spain stun Portugal to reach UNL semis

Spain have reached the Nations League semis after a late win in Portugal, while Serbia and Scotland were promoted to League A with final-day away victories.

September 28, 2022
By AAP
28 September 2022

Spain have snatched a place in the UEFA Nations League final four after striker Alvaro Morata’s late goal secured a 1-0 win over hosts Portugal to ensure top spot in their group.

Portugal had dominated Tuesday’s match but in the 88th minute, a long ball into the box from Spain defender Dani Carvajal was headed by Nico Williams across to Morata. He lashed it into the net to silence most of the sold-out stadium in Braga.

Spain finished top of Group A2 on 11 points from six games, one point above Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal who only needed a draw to secure a place in the semi-finals.

The Spaniards join Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands in next year’s finals tournament.

“It was a difficult game but I stay with the attitude of the team. We have made a great effort,” Morata said.

“Every time that Spain have to show up in big games we do it. That’s how we do it and tonight we did it again.”

In the group’s other match, hosts Switzerland beat already relegated Czech Republic 2-1.

In the second tier, Scotland drew 0-0 away to Ukraine in neutral Poland to gain promotion – passing relegated England on the way.

Scotland, who started the inaugural edition of the competition in League C, finished top of Group B1 on 13 points – two ahead of Ukraine.

At the other end of the table, Republic of Ireland let slip a 2-0 lead to Armenia conceding goals in the 71st and 73rd minutes. Another for the visitors would have sent the Irish down but instead they were awarded an added-time penalty after VAR revealed Artak Dashyan had handled on the line.

Dashyan and a protesting Hovhannes Hambartsumyan were dismissed before Robbie Brady converted the spot kick on his first international start in 18 months.

In Group B4, Serbia beat Norway 2-0 in Oslo to claim promotion with 13 points and finish three ahead of their hosts. Sweden were relegated to the third tier after a stunning first-half volley from Benjamin Sesko helped Slovenia secure a 1-1 draw in Stockholm.

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