Spain's Lamine Yamal scores his sides first goal during an Euro 2024 group A qualifying soccer match between Cyprus and Spain, at the Alphamega Stadium stadium in Limassol, Cyprus Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
LIMASSOL, Cyprus — Teenager Lamine Yamal scored to help Spain defeat Cyprus 3-1 and remain in first place in its European Championship qualifying group on Thursday.
Mikel Oyarzabal and Joselu also scored first-half goals to give already qualified Spain a two-point lead in Group A over second-place Scotland, which drew 2-2 at Georgia.
The 16-year-old Yamal scored five minutes into the match.
“I’m very happy to be wearing this jersey,” he said. “I’m feeling very comfortable thanks to my teammates.”
Spain’s final match will be against Georgia on Sunday in Valladolid, while Scotland will host Norway.
It was the final qualifying game for Cyprus, which ended with no points and a goal difference of minus 25 after eight losses. The goal against Spain was the team’s third overall. The others had come against Georgia and Norway.
Yamal opened the scoring after a couple of nifty moves to clear the goalkeeper and a defender in front of the net. Oyarzabal added to the lead from close range in the 22nd in a goal that was initially disallowed for offside, and Joselu scored the third after a corner taken by Oyarzabal in the 28th.
Substitute Kostas Pileas scored Cyprus’ lone goal in a breakaway in the 75th.
Oyarzabal had to be substituted in the 40th with a muscle injury on his left thigh. He was replaced by Rodrigo Riquelme, the Atletico Madrid midfielder who made his debut with the national team.
Bayer Leverkusen defender Alejandro Grimaldo and Girona midfielder Aleix García and also made their debuts for Spain.
The Spanish soccer federation said Oyarzabal will not continue with the squad for Sunday’s match against Georgia. He will not be replaced.
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