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Spain, Germany hold on for Nations League wins

Counterpart Sommer then got flustered by Spain’s pressure and passed the ball past his teammate and directly to Mikel Merino, who set up Real Sociedad clubmate Mikel Oyarzabal to score the only goal in the 14th minute.

Spain lead group four with seven points, ahead of Germany on five, Ukraine on three, and Switzerland with one.

Adama Traore went on for teenage sensation Ansu Fati in the second half and provided some good flashes on his competitive debut, but otherwise Spain coach Luis Enrique will have been left wondering about his choices as he tries to establish a new generation capable of challenging for titles.

Spain next visit Ukraine on Tuesday.

GERMANY FINALLY WIN

Defender Matthias Ginter and midfielder Leon Goretzka scored to give Low’s team its first win in the group, its first of the year, and after three games including the friendly against Turkey in which it squandered leads to draw.

A late penalty from Ruslan Malinovskyi ensured another nervy ending, but a Ukraine side depleted by coronavirus cases and injuries was unable to draw level. Andriy Shevchenko’s side was thrashed by France 7-1 in their friendly on Wednesday.

Germany celebrate after getting their first Nations League win.

Germany celebrate after getting their first Nations League win.Credit:AP

After drawing with Turkey 3-3 in Cologne on the same day, Low restored his regular players in Kyiv, building the team around the Bayern Munich “block” of Manuel Neuer, Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Goretzka and Serge Gnabry. Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg, and Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, also returned to the starting line-up.

Low confirmed afterward he will try to stick with the same players for Tuesday’s game against Switzerland in Cologne, another city where coronavirus cases are rising.

Low acknowledged concern about playing in Kyiv, where the infection rate has been growing.

SMALLER TEAMS REJOICE

Two goals in the first half from Danel Sinani were enough for Luxembourg to defeat visiting Cyprus 2-0, while Montenegro maintained its perfect record, beating Azerbaijan 2-0.

Montenegro has nine points from three gamesin group one of League C, followed by Luxembourg on six, Azerbaijan with three, and Cyprus with none.

Also, an early goal from Tjay de Barr was enough for Gibraltar to beat fellow minnows Liechtenstein 1-0. It was Gibraltar’s second ever competitive away win and their second consecutive in group two of League D, which they lead with six points. Liechtenstein have three points and San Marino none.

In group one of League D, Andorra drew with Malta 0-0, and the Faroe Islands drew with Latvia 1-1. The Faroes top the group with seven points from three games.

AP

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