KOCHI: Spain recovered from their opening defeat against Brazil by beating tournament debutantes Niger 4-0 in a Group D fixture of the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Tuesday.
A brace from skipper Abel Ruiz (21′ & 41′) along with goals from Cesar Gelabart (45+1′) and Sergio Gomez (82′) handed Spain their first win of the campaign.
Spain dominated proceedings from the very beginning and kept the ball in the rival half itself during the opening quarter. However, with the Niger defense staying deep, Spain were finding it tough to penetrate.
Nonetheless, Spain took the lead just past the 20th minute mark when Ruiz found the back of net from close.
Having scored, Spain increased their pressure and attacked the rival goal ferociously going close on a few occasions. Spain’s pressure yielded another goal four minutes before interval when Ruiz scored his second of the evening.
Gelabart increased Spain’s lead further scoring in injury time to give his side a three goal cushion going into the breather.
Spain began the second half brightly like they did the first, with a goal beckoning with every move. Four minutes into the half Ruiz almost completed his hat-trick when his attempted shot on goal from Ferran Torres’ pass was denied by the Niger keeper Khaled Lawali.
Six minutes later Lawali made a diving save after a well-placed shot by Mohamed Moukhliss. Shortly after that it was defender Farouk Idrissa who cleared a shot by Gelabart on the line.
Meanwhile, Niger tried to take advantage of the loose ends in the La Rojita formation but the Santiago Denia-coached side fought back to consolidate their gain.
Spain though remained in control of the proceedings but had to wait till the 82nd minute to get their fourth through Gomez, who beat Lawali with a low shot.