Portugal cruise past Czechs as Dalot bags brace




 

Defender Diogo Dalot scored twice as Portugal eased past the Czech Republic 4-0 in Prague on Saturday to get within a point of reaching the UEFA Nations League play-offs.

Portugal, who won the first edition of the Nations League in 2019, lead Group 2 on 10 points, two ahead of Spain who were stunned by Switzerland 2-1 at home.

Portugal host Spain next Tuesday in their final group game.

Dalot opened the scoring on 33 minutes as he nutmegged Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik from a cutback provided by Rafael Leao.

Dalot sprinted down the pitch, passed the ball to his right and dashed into the box to pick up Leao's pass from the left following a cross narrowly missed by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bruno Fernandes made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time as Mario Rui found him facing Vaclik with a low cross from the left.

A minute later, the hosts squandered a penalty kick as Patrik Schick fired over the crossbar after VAR spotted Ronaldo handling the ball inside the box.

"The first half was brilliant, it had an excellent quality," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.

"We were perfectly ready for them and didn't really let them show much."

"When we scored the second, the Czechs failed to convert the penalty kick and grew even more nervous, while we stayed focused and were at ease."

Dalot added a second as he stunned Vaclik with a low left-foot shot from outside the area on 52 minutes.

Second-half substitute Diogo Jota headed home a late fourth from close range following a corner and Ronaldo's glancing header that found him at the far post.

Ronaldo failed to improve his record tally of 117 international goals and was left with a bloodied face after a clash with Vaclik early in the game.

"After the third goal, it was almost finished," said Santos, adding he expected a different game against Spain.

"Our tactics will not change, both teams want to win. It doesn't matter whether they lost or won today."

frj/iwd

COMMENTS

More Related News

Put the kids to bed early... it
Put the kids to bed early... it's the Monster vs the Cannibal

From the moment Portugal manager Fernando Santos delivered his one-word description of Pepe, the headlines had surely already been written.

Ronaldo
Ronaldo's 'total genius' won World Cup penalty, says FIFA group

Cristiano Ronaldo showed "total genius" by winning a controversial penalty in Portugal's World Cup win over Ghana, FIFA technical study group member Sunday Oliseh said on Saturday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Soccer