UEFA Nation League Recap: Gayà’s Late Goal Saves Spain From Defeat

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On Thursday, Sept. 3, Germany lined up against Spain in the group stages of the UEFA Nations League. The game was low scoring, but pleasing to the eye. While both teams had their chances and showed their flaws, nothing could split the sides at the end. Germany had the game in their grasp as stoppage time started to fade away, but a last-minute goal from José Gayà helped rescue Spain from defeat.   

Germany’s Ilkay Gundogan, center, runs with the ball past Spain’s Thiago Alcantara, left, and Spain’s Fabian Ruiz during their UEFA Nations League soccer match at the Mercedes-Benz Arena stadium in Stuttgart, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Overall, Spain’s experience looked to outweigh the youth of Germany throughout the match, dominating in possession. Both teams were stagnant going into halftime with no one being able to get onto the score sheet. However, in the second half, it didn’t take Germany long to get on the score sheet first.  

Ilkay Gündoğan started the move by picking up the ball in midfield. He then played a looping ball to the left side of the field to Robert Gosens. Gosens crossed the ball into the box where it found the feet of Chelsea striker, Timo Werner. Werner then cut on to his right foot, dribbled one defender and placed the ball by two defenders into the bottom corner of the goal, leaving Spain goalkeeper, David De Gea, no chance at all.  

Minutes later, Germany picked up a free kick deep in Spain’s half. The ball was then headed in by Bayern defender Niklas Süle, forcing De Gea to make a save. 

Spain’s Luis Jose Gaya, center, celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Nations League soccer match against Germany at the Mercedes-Benz Arena stadium in Stuttgart, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

In the 91st minute, Spain threatened Germany time and time again. Spain’s build-up in Germany’s half led to a cross, where it was headed into the bottom corner by 17-year-old Ansu Fati, giving Spain an equalizer for seconds only. The goal was then called back after a foul was called on Spain captain Sergio Ramos. It seemed that would be the final chance for Spain in the contest.  

In one last effort, Spain dumped the ball deep into Germany’s half, where it made its way out wide for Manchester City newcomer, Ferran Torres, to float a cross into the box. The ball was then headed down by Rodrigo Moreno where it found the feet of Spain defender Gayà. With a one-time touch, Gayà tapped the ball into the open net, causing Spain to level in at the last minute of stoppage time, tying the game at 1-1.  

Germany looks to bounce back in the next match as it takes on Switzerland, while Spain looks to ride its momentum into the next game as it takes on Ukraine.  

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