Uefa Women's U19 Championship: Spain beat hosts Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's Emma McMaster (right) battles with Lucia Garcia
Emma McMaster's outstanding defensive display at Windsor Park prevented Spain from scoring several more goals
Uefa Women's U19 Championship 2017
Venue: Northern Ireland Dates: 8-20 August
Coverage: Northern Ireland group games streamed live on the BBC Sport website (UK only)

Spain clinched a dominant 2-0 victory over battling hosts Northern Ireland at Windsor Park as the European Under-19 Women's Championship kicked off.

A couple of superb blocks by home captain Emma McMaster helped Northern Ireland hold out before Lucia Garcia put Spain ahead on 30 minutes.

Spanish captain Patricia Guijarro doubled the lead with a tremendous dipping shot in the 52nd minute.

While Spain bossed the game, Abbie Magee went close for the hosts.

Substitute Magee tested Spanish keeper Noelia Ramos in the 74th minute after a brilliant run out of defence by Megan Bell.

The hosts are making their first appearance in the finals while Spain have been runners-up in three of the last four Uefa Under-19 women's tournaments.

Also in Group A, Germany beat Scotland 3-0 while in Group B England edged out Italy 2-1 at Mourneview Park. The Netherlands beat holders France 2-1 at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Northern Ireland will be back in action in Friday's second round against Scotland at Mourneview Park with England taking on the Dutch at Windsor Park on the same day.

Northern Ireland's Emily Wilson tries to keep pace with Spain's Andrea Sierra
The match was played in front of record crowd for a women's game in Northern Ireland

Spain waste early chances as McMaster stars

In front of a record 4,200 crowd for a women's match in Northern Ireland, Spain missed two chances in the opening four minutes as McMaster cleared a point-blank Laura Perez chance off the line before the same player then blazed over with the goal gaping.

As Northern Ireland full cap McMaster continued to make a number of brilliant interventions, the dominant Spaniards were frustrated until Perez's run set up Garcia to poke into an empty net in the 30th minute.

Northern Ireland's defensive discipline continued in the second half and it took skipper Guijarro's brilliant 52nd-minute dipping shot to beat Northern Ireland keeper Lauren Perry again.

The Spaniards continued to miss chances and Magee almost pulled a goal back 16 minutes from time after Bell sprinted from the edge of her own penalty area to the Spanish half.

Northern Ireland manager Alfie Wylie said he was proud of his players' efforts in frustrating the talented Spaniards for long periods.

"Despite being 1-0 down at half-time, they refused to feel sorry themselves in the second half and kept battling," said Wylie, who is also the Northern Ireland women's senior manager.

"They gave it absolutely everything tonight and I'm so proud of them."

Group A
Northern Ireland, Germany, Scotland, Spain
Group B
Italy, Netherlands, France, England
Tuesday, 8 August
Scotland 0-3GermanyBelfast
Northern Ireland0-2SpainBelfast
Friday, 11 August
ItalyvFranceBelfast 15:00
GermanyvSpainPortadown 15:00
NetherlandsvEnglandBelfast 19:00
Northern IrelandvScotlandLurgan 19:00
Monday, 14 August
NetherlandsvItalyPortadown 15:00
EnglandvFranceBallymena 15:00
SpainvScotlandLurgan 19:00
GermanyvNorthern IrelandBallymena 19:00

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