Thursday, April 25, 2024

Daniel Munoz scores stunning winner as Colombia shock Spain in London friendly

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Mar 2024

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Crystal Palace defender Daniel Munoz scored a stunning first international goal as Spain’s build-up to Euro 2024 began with a surprise 1-0 defeat by Colombia.

Right-back Munoz acrobatically converted Luis Diaz’s cross in the 61st minute to earn his side a morale-boosting result moving towards this summer’s Copa America in the United States.

Three-time European champions Spain enjoyed plenty of possession at the London Stadium but lacked a cutting edge as their eight-match winning run ended.

Former Real Madrid man James Rodriguez played an instrumental role in his country’s success, which stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games, after coming off the bench following a forgettable first half.

Spain will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they host Brazil at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

The Spanish – unfamiliar in yellow shirts against a nation renowned for wearing them – opted to leave influential Manchester City midfielder Rodri on the bench for the evening, while Liverpool’s Diaz captained Colombia.

Luis de la Fuente’s side started in the ascendancy but without seriously threatening in a tight opening period of few chances.

Athletic Bilbao defender Daniel Vivian nodded narrowly over on his international debut following a fine cross from Alex Grimaldo, who earlier fired straight at opposition goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.

Colombia, backed by a sizeable support at the home of West Ham, were aggressively pressed by a team monopolising possession.

Mateo Cassierra forced a save out of Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya following a well-worked free-kick routine but the South Americans were restricted to little as they largely sought opportunities to counter.

Colombia manager Nestor Lorenzo turned to James in search of a much-needed spark for the second period, while Spain keeper Raya was replaced by debutant Alex Remiro of Real Sociedad.

Lorenzo’s men improved significantly after the restart, albeit Vargas had to be alert to deny Gerard Moreno a 49th-minute opener.

Minutes after skying well over when well placed, ex-Everton player James played a key role in what proved to be the winner.

His fine pass released Diaz down the left and, after twisting and turning Vivian, the skipper delivered an inviting centre which bounced before Munoz, winning his 24th cap, dispatched the ball high into Remiro’s net with an eye-catching scissor kick.

The thumping finish sparked wild scenes of celebration among the healthy Colombian contingent in a crowd of more than 43,000.

Spain introduced striker Alvaro Morata as part of a triple change.

But they could not find a leveller as they slipped to a first defeat since a shock 2-0 European Championship qualifying loss to Scotland last March.

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