Spain just too good for Cyprus

Spain clinched their fifth consecutive win in Euro 2024 qualifying by comfortably defeating Cyprus 3-1 at the Alphamega Stadium. This victory propelled them as undisputed leaders of Group A, two points ahead of Scotland.

Luis de la Fuente opted for nine alterations from the previous match that secured their qualification against Norway. With only Gavi and Robin Le Normand retaining their spots, Spain faced little challenge from the bottom-ranked Group A team. They quickly took the lead as Mikel Merino’s pass found Lamine Yamal, Spain’s youngest-ever scorer, who calmly netted in the fifth minute.

Mikel Oyarzabal increased Spain’s lead in the 24th minute with a well-placed shot from Álex Grimaldo’s assist, following a VAR-reviewed offside call. Joselu added a third four minutes later from Oyarzabal’s corner. However, Oyarzabal exited the game due to a hamstring injury, making way for Rodrigo Riquelme, who debuted before halftime.

Despite Spain’s dominance, the crowd in Limassol entertained themselves with a Mexican wave. Riquelme attempted a goal from the right flank but missed the target. Cyprus then surprised Spain with an excellently executed goal by Kostas Pileas, courtesy of Charalampos Charalampous’ precise pass, narrowing the gap.

The hosts’ goal didn’t lead to an unexpected turnaround. Spain continued their unbeaten streak across competitions, securing their spot atop Group A after Scotland’s 2-2 draw with Georgia. Cyprus, on the other hand, suffered their eighth consecutive defeat in Euro 2024 qualifying, continuing their disappointing campaign.