Spain beat Belarus 3-1 in extra time to reach European U-21 final

15:23, June 23, 2011      

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Adriann Lopez (R) and Juan Mata (C) of Spain celebrate Lopez's goal against Belarus during the UEFA Under-21 European Championship semifinal football match at Viborg Stadium in Denmark June 22, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters)

Spain came from a goal down to crush Belarus through extra time 3-1 in the semifinal of the European U-21 Championship in Viborg, Northern Denmark, on Wednesday.

Star striker Adrian Lopez scored a brace, clinching favorites Spain a last-gasp equalizer in the 89th minute, leveling the score 1-1, and forcing the match into extra time.

The tournament top scorer struck a second time in the 105th minute, heading-in a sharp cross to put Spain ahead 2-1, and cemented their place in Saturday's tournament final.

Earlier, it was Belarus that went ahead 1-0 in the 38th minute with Andrei Voronkov scissor kicking a long ball over his head into the Spanish net.

The Spaniards displayed attacking football throughout the match, garnering the bulk of possession, corners and free kicks, but were unable to score until Adrian Lopez turned the match around.

Then, a long-shot from Jeffren Suarez gave Spain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the 113th minute, to which the tired Belarussian team had no answers.

Spain have demonstrated crushing power through the tournament, demolishing Ukraine 3-0, Czech Republic 2-0 and holding England 1- 1 in the round-robin stage.

They will now play the winners of Wednesday's second semifinal between Switzerland and Czech Republic in the final match on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Wednesday's loss brought Belarus's disappointing tournament to an end. The East Europeans could only beat Iceland 2- 0, while losing 2-1 to Denmark, and 3-1 to Switzerland in the group stage.

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