Spain U-21s begins 2017 U-21 European Championship campaign with 5-0 thrashing of Macedonia U-21s

Portugal Under-21s had beaten Serbia Under-21s 2-0 in Group B’s early match to take an early lead in the section, but the tournament favourites have risen to the top courtesy of a thumping victory.

An experienced Spain XI saw Hector Bellerin, Jose Gaya, Saul Niguez, Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu all start, while there are also spots in the team for Marco Asensio and Sandro Ramirez.

Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga was selected between the sticks, but his club teammate Inaki Williams was only among the substitutes as the tournament favourites sent out a strong message with their team ahead of kickoff.

As for Macedonia, former Barcelona youngster David Babunski skippered the underdogs, while Kire Markoski and Marjan Radeski also started in a side that boasted plenty of senior international appearances.

Asensio stunning first goal after 16 minutes saw him find the top-right corner with a magnificent left-footed 30-yard strike, an effort which doubled his side’s lead after Saul Niguez’s overhead kick had put them ahead.

Gerard Deulofeu’s penalty had La Rojita three ahead by half-time, but Asensio ensured the headlines were his by adding two more goals after the break.

His second on 54 minutes saw him weave into the area before finding the far corner with the aid of a slight deflection.

Asensio’s third was even better, the Madrid attacking midfielder picking up the ball inside his own half before beating Igor Aleksovski from 20 yards at the end of a charging run.

Next up for Spain is a clash with Portugal Under-21s on Tuesday, while Macedonia will look to keep their tournament alive when they face Serbia Under-21s on the same night.

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