Football

Spain edge unlucky Italy to reach final

Two second-half penalties lifted Spain to a 2-0 win and into their maiden FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup final at the expense of an unlucky Italy at the Estadio Edgardo Baltodano in Liberia on Monday.

The match was a tight contest throughout with Italy having the better of the opening period but they we're unable to make the most of the limited opportunities. Notably, Martina Piemonte had a goal ruled out having been in an offside position midway through the half when she followed up Manuela Giugliano’s fierce shot from outside the penalty area.

Gloria Marinelli then hit the bar in an speculative long-range effort few minutes later but it was to be as close as Italy would come to the all-important breakthrough. Spain’s Andrea Falcon then stung the palms of Francesca Durante as Las Rojitas attempted to force their way into the contest.

While Italy had the better of the first half, it was Spain that took the lead from the penalty spot within minutes of the restart. Sandra Hernandez converted her penalty after her free-kick was deemed to be handball by a lurking defender.

The ever-impressive Nahikari Garcia hammered home the second penalty after Laura Dominguez was upended in the penalty area nine minutes from full time. Garcia could have ended the contest within a matter of seconds but Azzurrine goalkeeper Durante forced the attacker wide to nullify the danger.

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