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Spain downs USA in thrilling opener
September 20th, 2013 12:17AM
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[BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP] Nico's winning goal with two minutes gave Spain the lead for the first time in its 5-4 victory over the USA in their Group A opener at the Beach World Cup in Tahiti. Lewis Valentine had a chance to tie the game after Nico's strike but saw his penalty kick saved by Dona.

The Americans took a 1-0 lead with a Ryan Futagaki goal in the sixth minute and went up 3-1 after Nicolas Perera and Mario Chimienti replied to Antonio's equalizer.

Llorenc and Antonio -- with a spectacular overhead volley -- scored late in the second period and early in the third to tie the game, 3-3. Valentine volleyed home to regain the U.S. lead before Juanma made it 4-4 and Nico sent the European champion to victory.

The USA faces host Tahiti on Saturday (ESPN3, 9:48 pm PT/12:48 am ET) and United Arab Emirates on Monday. The top two teams of the four groups qualify for the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday.

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