Lithuania 1-5 Portugal

In the first-ever competitive meeting between the two sides, Portugal overcame some early deficiencies to put five past the hosts at the Vetra Stadium tonight. Portugal were lethargic from the onset, but after an error by the Lithuanian keeper the visitors went into cruise control. In characteristic fashion, Ronaldo struggled initially then scored four goals to take his tally to 93 for the Seleção.

Bernardo Silva notched two more assists and William once again wound up on the scoresheet for the fourth time in his Portugal career.

Fernando Santos made three changes to the side which defeated Serbia on Saturday with Cancelo returning to the starting XI in place of the injured Semedo, Neves slotting in alongside William, and João Félix chosen to partner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lithuania, to their credit, were the first to create danger when lackadaisical defending from Portugal allowed the hosts to work the ball down the right wing. Slivka was first to reach the ensuing cross, but he fluffed his lines despite being well-positioned on the edge of the six-yard box. 

But the breakthrough came early on for Portugal following good play between João Félix and Ronaldo. The referee spotted a potential handball interfering with the Atletico Madrid man's cross inside the area, and Cristiano Ronaldo easily dispatched the spot kick, his 90th goal for the Seleção.

João Félix then combined well with Cancelo down the right and the Manchester City fullback's cross was nearly turned in for an own goal with Setkus intervening with a good reaction save. 

Ronaldo tested the keeper again with a speculative shot from the right channel in the 23rd minute. Lithuania, meanwhile, exploited the rather open midfield to create opportunities on the counter.

Lithuania hit back

Fonte was required to intervene at the last moment to deny Laukzemis an easy goal in the 27th minute, and Lithuania were rewarded on the ensuing corner. Andriuskevicius rose highest to meet the corner as Portugal's set-piece defence was again found lacking.

Setkus swatted down a Cancelo shot from the right as Portugal attempted to hit back quickly, but the Seleção lacked a focal point with both Ronaldo and Félix attempting to drop deep at inopportune moments.

Félix worked Setkus again with a sumptuous effort from just outside the penalty area, but the final ball and finishing touch was clearly absent. Bruno Fernandes found Félix with a wonderful ball from midfield, but the young forward's attempt was well-saved by the Lithuanian keeper, who was having a very good game in his own right.

Very slack defending allowed Lithuania another effort on goal, but the connection was poor and Patrício smothered the danger. The game remained surprisingly open and Bruno Fernandes was next to try his luck but the shot was blasted well over the bar, and the sides went into the half all square.

João Félix placed a great chance just wide after a mishit Ronaldo shot deflected into his path in the 50th minute. Santos had seen enough five minutes before the hour mark and introduced Rafa Silva for Bruno Fernandes.

The break was on for Ronaldo minutes later but the chance was badly wasted as Bernardo Silva's eventual shot was weak and straight at the keeper. But in very odd fashion, the Lithuanian goalkeeper gifted Portugal a goal when he completely mishandled a scuffed Ronaldo effort. It was a strange occurrence as the keeper, and Lithuania as a unit, had being playing extremely well.

Minutes later Ronaldo finished the job with a close range finish after he beat the offside trap and got on the end of Bernardo Silva's cross, his and Portugal's third of the night.

Ronaldo hits four

Félix nearly added to Portugal's lead minutes later as the nature of the match shifted and became about damage control for the hosts and higher goal differential for Portugal. But Ronaldo scored yet again in the 76th minute, demonstrating a far better finishing touch when he swept Bernardo Silva's pass into the bottom right corner from the left side of the penalty area. 

Guerreiro nearly added a fifth in stoppage time, but it was William who ended up stealing those honours when he nabbed another scrappy finish after a poor clearance by the Lithuanian defence. 

It was a strange match as Lithuania had been unexpectedly good save for the dubious first half penalty and the egregious error by Setkus which completely killed the competitive nature of the game. Ronaldo's four goals disguised some uncharacteristically poor touches from the Portugal captain, but also underscored his persistence to right the wrongs he makes during a match by scoring goals.

The intensity from Portugal was poor in the first half, and the entire side seemed to be lacking inspiration. More concerning was the lack of industry on defence with gaping holes left for Lithuania to exploit on several occasions leaving Portugal to thank the hosts for their poor finishing. Even so, Portugal racked up 14 attempts on target from 31 total shots, dominated possession, and probably should have scored several more times. 

João Félix had his moments but could not find the right finish to beat Setkus. José Fonte was imperious at the back, but it must be said Portugal's set-piece defence needs improvement. William scored his second goal in as many matches, revealing his newfound desire to find his way into the penalty area at opportune moments. 

Portugal will next host Luxembourg on October 11th before traveling to Kiev three days later to meet first-placed Ukraine. 

 

 

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Raphael Guerreiro, Rúben Dias, José Fonte, João Cancelo - William Carvalho, Rúben Neves, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes (Rafa Silva, 56') - João Félix, Cristiano Ronaldo (Guedes, 79')

Lithuania XI: Setkus - S. Mikoliunas, M. Palionis, E. Girdvainis, V. Andriuskevicius - D. Simkus, V. Slivka, M. Vorobjovas, M. Kuklys (Zulpa, 69'), O. Verbickas (Kazlauskas, 77') - K. Laukzemis (Petravicius, 66')

 

Goals:

[0-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo (PK), 6'

[1-1] - Andriuskevicius, 28'

[1-2] - Cristiano Ronaldo, 62'

[1-3] - Cristiano Ronaldo, 65'

[1-4] - Cristiano Ronaldo, 76'

[1-5] - William, 90'

by Nathan Motz 

 

Comments (22)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Teams like Lithuania simply don't have the mental or physical stamina to ever truly compete with teams like Portugal so even if Portugal played as bad as they can sometimes, I would still expect them to win, I nearly fell asleep in the first half...

Teams like Lithuania simply don't have the mental or physical stamina to ever truly compete with teams like Portugal so even if Portugal played as bad as they can sometimes, I would still expect them to win, I nearly fell asleep in the first half lol Portugal didn't play badly just couldn't finish and I think the artificial pitch didn't help too.

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Giving up get another goal from a set piece will undoubtedly frustrate Santos, but all in all, the 5-1 scoreline was well deserved.

4 goals from the capitão. I could definitely see him getting at least another 5 before the end of qualification....

Giving up get another goal from a set piece will undoubtedly frustrate Santos, but all in all, the 5-1 scoreline was well deserved.

4 goals from the capitão. I could definitely see him getting at least another 5 before the end of qualification. The 109 goal record is now well within reach to the point that it is now a matter of when rather than if.

João Félix will have been frustrated not to have gotten on the score sheet but his overall performance was excellent. He was always finding space in between the lines, combined well with his teammates, and tested the Lithuanian keeper with several quality shots. Guedes and Rafa may be more of a threat on the counter but there is no denying that Félix is a cut above the rest (apart from perhaps Bernardo) in terms of vision and end product in the final third.

Speaking of Bernardo, it's great to see that he is finally replicating his club form in the colors of Portugal. He was the player of the tournament in the Nations League and that form has thankfully carried over into the qualifiers. Even though he often starts on the wing, we're finally starting to see much more of him operating in more central zones on the pitch. As I've said before, the better we maximize Bernardo's influence the better this team is going to play.

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I thought the goal tender got credited with an open goal?
What I love is that we are scoring goals against stubborn defenses and not scaping by 1-0
Nine goals in two games!!!!!!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

the goal tender? They were not playing ice hockey....

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Well you can tell I’m Canadian. And in Canada we don’t say ‘ice’ hockey, it’s just hockey

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It is easily the best version of hockey, so that is the way it should be!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Jerrold, I thought for sure they would count it as an own goal, but so far they have not done that. The ball clearly hits the keeper's back then bounces into the net but because it was Ronaldo's shot I suppose they are giving him credit regardless.

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It'd be ideal for Renato to regain form. Santos would then be able to interchange him with Fernandes. We know how well Renato pairs with William, and having him in there driving the offence with maybe Fernandes coming on for certain situations.

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no jota again, i think hes our answer to a number 9,plays in the best league in tgw world week in week out,come on santos give him a shot...

bruno fernandes ive seen nothing off so far in a portugal shirt.

i liked rafa ,rafa pizzi guedes played...

no jota again, i think hes our answer to a number 9,plays in the best league in tgw world week in week out,come on santos give him a shot...

bruno fernandes ive seen nothing off so far in a portugal shirt.

i liked rafa ,rafa pizzi guedes played well for those 10 15 min

i liked rafa alot ...

forca portugal

more goals and shots from some one rather than always passing to cr7 please

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Another goal and solid performance by my boy william .
When are people going to open their eyes and realize he is one of portugals best players ?

Yet, he still has a lot of haters.
Easy way to determine if someone doesn’t know jack about soccer...

Another goal and solid performance by my boy william .
When are people going to open their eyes and realize he is one of portugals best players ?

Yet, he still has a lot of haters.
Easy way to determine if someone doesn’t know jack about soccer , is if they hate on William.

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....also they call it "soccer"

William is a great player though this is true.

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I actually don't think he was that good tonight, but part of the reason was because he doesn't do as well alongside Neves. He needs a more athletic and robust counterpart like Danilo. But he had his moments and I love that he is getting forward...

I actually don't think he was that good tonight, but part of the reason was because he doesn't do as well alongside Neves. He needs a more athletic and robust counterpart like Danilo. But he had his moments and I love that he is getting forward more often. There were quite a few times he'd be in the box with Ronaldo waiting for a cross from Cancelo, Bernardo, or Guerreiro. I'm a big fan of William.

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It took a little while to get going, perhaps the synthetic pitch took some getting used to, but even in the first half we had a bunch of chances, and by the end of the match we really could've scored 10 goals. I thought Felix did well, clever...

It took a little while to get going, perhaps the synthetic pitch took some getting used to, but even in the first half we had a bunch of chances, and by the end of the match we really could've scored 10 goals. I thought Felix did well, clever movement and link up play and he is only going to get better for the Selecao. Ronaldo simply did was he does (could easily have scored two more) and could potentially reach a century of international goals by the end of this qualifying campaign.

Great to get back on track in the group with the two impressive away results. I expect us to win the rest of the matches now, including winning in Ukraine, and win the group. The only criticism I would make of these last two matches is we have to get tighter on defending setpieces after conceding twice from corners, but the rest was very promising indeed.

I really feel that no national team in the world has a greater abundance of major talent across all positions, than we do, above all young talent. I know we are still in the Euro qualifiers right now, but what I have my sights on is winning the next World cup. I think 3 years from now is a good time frame for this crop of players we have. The real young talent (i.e Felix, Ruben Dias, Florentino, Gedson, Rafael Leao, Nuno Tavares) will be a lot more experienced, some of the slightly older talent (i.e William, Bruno Fernandes, Rafa Silva, André Silva) will still be well under 30 and possibly in their peak years. While Ronaldo will still very possibly be playing at a high level in 3 years time. I truly believe that by 2022 we will have as much of a chance of winning the World Cup as anyone, with this generation of players.

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-Z- being a Sporting man myself, I just don't think Fernandes is up to par. I much rather see a William/Sanches connection.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree with the comment about r.sanches as an attacking mid interchangeable with b.fernandes but Santos needs to somehow find this guys form ala sporting for the national team.

Too bad Ferro didnt get a runout alongside dias....and at some...

I agree with the comment about r.sanches as an attacking mid interchangeable with b.fernandes but Santos needs to somehow find this guys form ala sporting for the national team.

Too bad Ferro didnt get a runout alongside dias....and at some point florentino luis will get a call-up should his form continue in the defensive mid role at benfica....as good as neves is, f.luis has even more potential is a better ball winner.

Its great to literallly have so many options in each position now.

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I know I’m in the minority. But, I think Moutinho should be starting ahead of Bruno. He’s playing fantastically at Wolves. I think Fernando is overthinking things a bit with that one.

William is always fantastic for the national team. To me...

I know I’m in the minority. But, I think Moutinho should be starting ahead of Bruno. He’s playing fantastically at Wolves. I think Fernando is overthinking things a bit with that one.

William is always fantastic for the national team. To me he’s one of the foundation players - Patricio, Pepe, William and Ronaldo (and now Bernardo)...the “spine”....

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William is fantastic player and a gentleman off the field. He is always at his best and controlling the proceeding of play. Always playing his heart out for Selecao.

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I have to agree with you guys regarding William. He's arguably our most important player after Ronaldo, so the fact that he still gets criticized in spite of all he's given us is beyond me.

Sure, he is far from fast and I understand that at...

I have to agree with you guys regarding William. He's arguably our most important player after Ronaldo, so the fact that he still gets criticized in spite of all he's given us is beyond me.

Sure, he is far from fast and I understand that at first glance he may seem a bit lacksadaisacal and cumbersome, but anyone who watches him closely, especially anyone who has played or coaches the game at a respectable level knows that he is an excellent midfielder.

His ability to protect the ball under pressure and find penetrative passes in between the lines is absolutely vital to the way we play. Ronaldo may be our primary goal scorer and Bernardo may be our playmaker, but William is the guy who makes this team tick.

I also agree with those who are highlighting Néves' susceptibility to getting caught on the counter. He's a brilliant passer of the ball and he's famous for his shots from distance but he is by no means a proper defensive midfielder. Danilo may be limited with the ball at his feet but he is far more solid than Néves defensively.

As others have mentioned, however, that #6 spot is going to belong to Florentino Luis sooner or later. He's an absolute beast defensively and his ability to counter press and win the ball back in the opponent's half makes him the perfect trinco for a proactive attack minded side.

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