A 9th minute goal from Álvaro Morata was enough to seal the win, as La Rojita dominated most of the game, but not without a few warnings from the young Hungarians.
It didn’t take long for La Rojita to push their noses in front at Estadio Municipal de Cartagonova in Cartagena, as their Hungarian opponents seemed set on sitting in their own half and defending. A perfect cross from Sarabia from the right flank, a well timed run and headed finish from Morata, to open the scoring.
The pressure kept coming as the Spanish youngsters, frustrated with making any headway centrally against the compact Hungarian side, looked to exploit any space they could find on the flanks.
Despite having conceded the early goal, Hungary weren’t going to roll over and make things easy for Spain and even with the continual pressure and play in their half, they managed to hold out until past the half-hour point, until the clearest chances could come from the home side.
In the 38th minute, good build-up play and another great cross from the right from Sarabia found Óliver Torres deep inside the Hungarian area to head at goal, but he couldn’t quite steer the ball on target. Morata was looking for his second goal in the 40th minute, but Hungarian keeper Jova was alert to the danger, trapping the shot well.
Even with the dominance, yet again La Rojita were up against a team that were content to park the bus and on the balance of things, the single goal difference reflected how solid the Hungarians were managing to stand against the constant threats.
There was to be no letting up from Spain as the second-half commenced, with them continuing to show complete domination of possession. By the 50th minute, the only real effort that Hungary could offer, was a speculative long-range pop at goal from Windecker, but Jordi Amat had no difficulty dealing with that in defence.
The Hungarians were starting to grow a little in confidence though and after one good opportunity for Vécsei in the 59th minute, they continued to attack and Adorján was desperately unlucky when having beaten Ñíguez and then Spain keeper Pachecho, he hit the woodwork with his shot and then Carvajal reacted quickly to clear off the line.
Lopetegui decided it was time to shuffle his pack in the 63rd minute and on came Pardo for Sarabia. Within just two minutes though, Pardo picked up a yellow card. Hardly the introduction to the game that the Spain U21 coach had been hoping for.
Whilst Spain continued to dominate in the possession stakes, they couldn’t further their advantage, as Hungary sat every one of their outfield players behind the ball. The only brief flash of any attacking intent from the visitors came in the 74th minute, when Vécsei again had a chance at goal, but Pachecho saved without any real difficulty.
Bernat got forward well in the 77th minute to supply a good cross from the left, but this time Morata couldn’t make the most of the opportunity and was off-target with the finish. Deulofeu then came into the game in the game in the 79th minute for Óliver Torres, as Lopetegui looked to inject a little freshness of legs and ideas.
As the game drew to a close, despite one off-target and hopeful attempt by the Hungarians to draw level, Spain seemed comfortable enough, as Jesé came on for Morata with the game heading into injury time.