MADRID: Spain won the UEFA Nations League Group A2 on Tuesday as Alvaro Morata's late goal edged out Portugal 1-0, while the Czech Republic were relegated after losing to Switzerland in the last round of group matches.
In a duel in Portugal's Braga, the hosts almost opened the scoring in the 32nd minute through Diogo Jota, who received a long pass from Bruno Fernandes and unleashed a shot towards the top right corner that Unai Simon kept out with a brilliant one-handed save.
The Portuguese were in total control during most of the game but Spain stayed in the contest and took the lead in the 88th minute. A long ball into the box from Dani Carvajal was headed by Nico Williams across to Alvaro Morata, who lashed it into the goal, reports Xinhua.
In that match, Morata shot three on target out of his four attempts. So far, the Atletico Madrid forward has scored 13 goals under Luis Enrique -- no Spanish player has bagged more for the current head coach.
It was the Spaniards' first competitive win away against Portugal since 1934. They joined Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands in Nations League finals tournament in June 2023.
Elsewhere, during the clash between Switzerland and the Czech Republic, the hosts' Remo Freuler scored the opener in the 29th minute with a clever short-range header and Breel Embolo extended the lead one minute later. Seconds before the halftime break, the visitors reduced the deficit as Patrik Schick scored with a left-footed finish from David Zima's low cross.
In the second half, Czech's Tomas Soucek saw his penalty saved by Yann Sommer, making the final score 2-1.
Thus, Spain topped Group 2 with three wins, two draws and one defeat, one point above second-placed Portugal. Switzerland held third place while the Czech Republic were relegated to League B.
In other Nations League League B games on Tuesday, Serbia gained promotion to League A after beating Norway 2-0 thanks to Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic's goals, while Manchester City star Erling Haaland tried hard to score but was unable to successfully link up with his teammates. Slovenia held Sweden to a 1-1 draw and kicked the latter to relegation. IANS