FIFA U-17 WC: Captain Abel scores a brace as Spain hammers Niger 4-0

Captain Abel Ruiz was in the forefront of Spain's domineering show by scoring a brace (21st and 41st) while Cesar Gelabert added an injury time goal to deflate Niger in the first half. Sergio Gomez scored the fourth in the 82nd minute to complete the tally.

Spain’s Sergio Gomez (L) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring a goal against Niger during the FIFA U-17 World Cup football match in Kochi on Tuesday.   -  H. Vibhu

 

Spain made a strong statement of intent to have its stuttering campaign back on track with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Niger in the Group D match of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Tuesday.

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Captain Abel Ruiz was in the forefront of Spain's domineering show by scoring a brace (21st and 41st) while Cesar Gelabert added an injury time goal to deflate Niger in the first half. Sergio Gomez scored the fourth in the 82nd minute to complete the tally.

Spanish coach Santiago Denia made three changes in the squad and adopted the 4-2-4 format at the start. After the initial thrust from Niger, Spain gradually took control of the midfield. Juan Miranda worked his way down the left flank to create chances for strikers while Cesar Gelabert dropped back to assist Ferran Torres in the midfield.

 

Abel Ruiz induced a good save from Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawali in the 10th minute as Spain had the first look at rival goal. The Niger goal came under pressure as the Spaniards struck rhythm. But more than the quality of Miranda’s cross it was defensive error by Niger which paved way for the opening Spanish goal. Juan tore down the left flank and crossed the ball past three Niger defenders who did little to stop it from reaching Abel who tapped it in from close.

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Niger fought gamely but its attempts in front of the Spanish goal were feeble. Its best chance came in the 37th minute when Ibrahim Boubacar headed straight into the goalkeeper's body after a high ball from Ibrahim Namata came to him.

Spain went ahead in the 41st minute through a cleverly taken free-kick. Instead of floating the ball over the wall, Sergio Gomez pushed it parallel to Abel whose first shot rebounded off the wall, The striker latched on to the rebound and flicked the ball in. Cesar Gelabert booted in the third goal in the injury time after Gomez had seized a rebound which came to him after Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawali had parried away a stiff shot form Abel Ruiz.

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Spain was a transformed side in the second half. With slick passing and control, Spain toyed with Niger defence. But profligacy and bad luck prevented it from increasing the lead until Gomez found the net in the 82nd minute.

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