Portugal beat Czech Republic 2-0 to stay on track in the UEFA Nations League

Portugal beat Czech Republic 2-0 in the UEFA Nations League thanks to two goals in the space of five first half minutes.

Bernardo Silva was the architect on both occasions, assisting João Cancelo in the 33rd minute and Gonçalo Guedes five minutes later.

The second half at Estádio José Alvalade was a tedious affair, the Seleção seeing the job through against a Czech Republic side that managed just one shot on target in Lisbon.

Chances at both ends

Portugal controlled the ball in the opening exchanges, Rúben Neves with the first effort of the match in the 10th minute when he dragged his shot wide.

João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva were combining well on the right wing but the Seleção were struggling to find space between Czech Republic’s deep block, the visitors frequently defending with 10 players in their 18-yard box.

William Carvalho's shot was blocked before the Czech’s fashioned their first chance in the 17th minute, Michal Sadílek volleying over the bar.

Cristiano Ronaldo then went on a long run into the box before firing a wayward attempt high and wide.

Portugal’s defence was sliced open in the 30th minute, Jan Kuchta bursting into the box and forcing a smart save from Diogo Costa.

Portugal turn on the style

It was a false dawn for the visitors as space opened up and Portugal turned the screw.

The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute thanks to another brilliant piece of combination play between João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva. A neat 1-2 from the Manchester City teammates saw Cancelo burst into the box and smash the ball past Jindřich Staněk from a tight angle.

Five minutes later Portugal extended their lead. Bernardo Silva was the orchestrator once again, releasing Gonçalo Guedes who picked his spot, placing the ball across Staněk and into the bottom corner.

Second half to forget

Czech Republic manager Jaroslav Šilhavý made a triple switch at the break with Milan Havel, Ondrej Lingr and Jan Kuchta making way for Václav Jemelka, Jakub Pesek and Václav Jurecka.

Portugal cleared a dangerous ball in their box before gifting the visitors a golden opportunity in the 60th minute. Bernardo Silva’s poor pass was pounced on by Adam Hložek, the young striker racing clear and releasing Jurečka who fired wide.

The Seleção started to exert some pressure with Diogo Jota forcing a save from Staněk. Jota then found Guedes in a dangerous position in front of goal, Sadílek getting back to make a crucial challenge before Guedes  could pull the trigger.

Santos made two substitutions in the 68th minute with William Carvalho and Bernardo Silva making way for Vitinha and Bruno Fernandes.

Ronaldo saw his shot saved but chances were few and far between in Lisbon, Jota making way for Rafael Leão in the 79th minute.

Portugal’s concentration levels deterioratied rapidly in the final five minutes. Rúben Neves lost possession in a dangerous position, Adam Vlkanova pouncing before producing a poor effort with Costa to beat.

João Moutinho and João Palhinha replaced Rúben Neves and Gonçalo Guedes in the closing stages with the focus immediately shifting to Switzerland.


Fernando Santos, in his 100th match in charge of the Seleção, made four changes to the side that swept past Switzerland on Sunday with Diogo Costa, Raphaël Guerreiro, Bernardo Silva and Gonçalo Guedes replacing Rui Patrício, Nuno Mendes, Bruno Fernandes and Otávio.

The Portuguese manager will continue to alter his starting side with four games being played in 11 days. 

Bernardo Silva and Guedes were strong and justified their inclusions with William Carvalho unable to replicate his sensational performance against Switzerland.

Club connections in international football are extremely important and we have seen two excellent examples in back to back games in Lisbon. João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva combined with devastating effect in the fourth goal against Switzerland, the Manchester City duo bamboozling three defenders as Cancelo opened the scoring against the Czech Republic.

The chances Portugal gifted their opponents in the second half wasn't ideal and took some of the gloss off the performance, but mistakes are to be expected after a long and grueling season. Portugal face one more challenge on Sunday, taking on Switzerland in Geneva before embarking on a well deserved break.

By Matthew Marshall

Line Ups

Portugal (4-3-3): Diogo Costa - João Cancelo, Pepe, Danilo Pereira, Raphaël Guerreiro - Bernardo Silva (Vitinha 68’), Rúben Neves (João Moutinho 88’), William Carvalho (Bruno Fernandes 68’) - Gonçalo Guedes (João Palhinha 88’), Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota (Rafael Leão 79’)

Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, Rui Silva, David Carmo, Diogo Dalot, Nuno Mendes, Otávio, André Silva        

Head Coach: Fernando Santos

Czech Republic (5-4-1): J. Staněk - V. Coufal, D. Zima, J. Brabec, A. Matějů (A. Král 80’), M. Havel (V. Jemelka 46’) - O. Lingr J. Pešek (46’), T. Souček, M. Sadílek, A. Hložek (A. Vlkanova 73’) - J. Kuchta (V. Jurečka 46’)

Unused substitutes: J. Zelený, L. Kalvach, T. Vaclík, V. Černý, S. Tecl, A. Mandous, O. Kúdela

Head Coach: Jaroslav Šilhavý 


[1-0] – João Cancelo 33'

[2-0] – Gonçalo Guedes 38’