Portugal 3-0 Sweden
Portugal have boosted their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League after defeating Sweden 3-0, this Wednesday, levelling France at the top of Group A3 on ten points.
In a frenetic encounter, the Seleção’s front three, without Cristiano Ronaldo, made all the difference with goals from Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota firming up a 2-0 lead going into half-time.
Jota concluded a memorable night with his second goal of the game in the second half, rubber-stamping Portugal’s authority on a 3-0 win.
In their bid to defend their Nations League title, Portugal unleashed a Premier League trident of Jota, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva in attack, crowned by Atlético Madrid’s João Félix, as they welcomed Sweden to the Alvalade.
The frontline immediately made its presence felt on the counter with Jota running at the Swedish defence within the first minute, sending the Seleção’s first warning with a shot past the near post.
Just a couple of minutes later, the dancing João Cancelo was on hand to serve William Carvalho with a cross, aimed at the far post before the Real Betis man’s nod onto the woodwork brought Portugal closer to the opener.
Sweden issued their response via a corner, glanced in Mikael Lustig’s direction by Pepe before the full-back sliced his effort over the bar from a prime position, 11 minutes in.
Portugal would have the pleasure of breaking the deadlock, however, winning the ball high up the pitch in the 21st minute before Jota was played through on goal to gift Bernardo Silva the chance to tuck home on his favoured left foot, making it 1-0.
Portugal 3-0 Sweden goal highlights
Meanwhile the hosts looked to be at their usual best going forwards, the gaps at the back for the Scandinavians to explore continued to appear, with Marcus Berg, turning onto his right foot, coming close to taking advantage with a powerful strike against the outside of the post in the 35th minute.
Fernando Santos’ men relieved some pressure on the brink of half time after João Cancelo spotted Jota’s run into the box with an early cross, enabling the Liverpool man to double Portugal’s lead in the 44th minute on the half-volley.
The first half wouldn’t conclude without another chance going Sweden’s way, again from Berg, but the Krasnodar man, this time striking with his shin, saw his attempt fly high and over the mark before the interval.
A quick start was back on the agenda for the second half as Viktor Claesson’s low strike, stopped by Rui Patrício in the 55th minute, was sandwiched by a couple of dangerously-deflected Portugal efforts.
Bruno Fernandes and João Félix looked to combine to devastating effect in the 66th minute, with the latter set through on goal by the Manchester United man, but a third goal would evade the Seleção upon the ex-Benfica starlet’s strike over.
Jota wouldn’t encounter the same difficulties, however, being played in down the left flank by William before cutting inside, leaving defenders in wake and finding the bottom-left corner in the 72nd minute.
Sweden almost claimed a consolation goal from a downwards header executed by Alexander Isak, but the Real Sociedad man would find no way through Patricio, securing a 3-0 win come full-time in Lisbon.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Raphäel Guerreiro, Pepe, Rubén Dias, João Cancelo - William Carvalho (João Moutinho, 79’), Danilo Pereira - Diogo Jota (Rafa Silva, 88’), Bruno Fernandes (Renato Sanches, 88’), Bernardo Silva (Daniel Podence, 74’) - João Félix (André Silva 74’)
Sweden XI: Robin Olsen - Pierre Bengsston, Victor Lindelöf, Pontus Jansson, Mikael Lustig (Matthias Johansson, 54’) - Viktor Claesson, Albin Ekdal, Kristoffer Olsson, Dejan Kulusevski (Sebastian Larsson, 88’) - Marcus Berg, Robin Quaison (Alexander Isak, 62’)
[1-0] - Bernardo Silva (21’)
[2-0] - Diogo Jota (44’)
[3-0] - Diogo Jota (72’)