A job well done. Portugal defeated the Czech Republic without forcing their talent (2-0) on Thursday evening in Lisbon. Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t score, but Bernardo Silva shone by providing two assists for Joao Cancelo and Gonçalo Guedes. Victorious for the second time in three matches, the Lusitanians consolidate their first place in Group 2 ahead of Spain, who they will find again at the end of September.
The José Alvalade Stadium was celebrating when they found their protégés, four days after a demonstration against Switzerland (4-0). The nets may have shaken less this time around, but the public appreciated the attacking football displayed by Fernando Santos’ men. For his 100th on the Seleçao bench, the Portuguese technician made four changes, notably propelling Bernardo Silva into the starting lineup. The good idea of the evening, as the pocket midfielder illuminated the meeting of his class and his vista.
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Released shortly after the hour mark, he had time to treat his partners, Joao Cancelo in the lead. The connection between the two Manchester City players was glaring and the Czechs, so inspired since the start of the 2022 Nations League, remained pale before this agreement. She hit the mark after 33 minutes, the time to adjust the sights. Silva, circled on the right, launched Joao Cancelo behind two opponents. In good shape, the side was quick to shoot Jindrich Stanek (1-0) from close range.
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Led and under pressure by Spain, the Czechs were forced to reveal themselves. They had already tried to deceive Diogo Costa, preferred to Rui Patricio in goal. In vain (16th, 30th). They did not have time to initiate a change of mind that Gonçalo Guedes scored the break goal on a new serve from Silva. Covered by a defender, the FC Valence striker deceived the vigilance of the opposing goalkeeper with a molested strike (2-0, 38th). His first goal in selection since October 11, 2019.
The second period proved less lively, despite the activity of Diogo Jota (60th). But Portugal proved that they could offer play – Fernando Santos still making attacking substitutions at the end of the game – and above all win without Cristiano Ronaldo taking part in the celebration. Four days after scoring his 116 and 117th goals for his country, the Manchester United leader has remained discreet.
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With seven points in three games, Portugal remains the sole leader of Group 2. Sunday, the Lusitanians will challenge Switzerland in Geneva, before finding Spain, their main competitor for qualification for the Final Four, at the end of September.
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