Slovenia 2-0 Portugal - Seleção suffer their first defeat under Roberto Martínez

Portugal’s 11 game winning streak under Roberto Martínez is over after a 2-0 defeat at Stadion Stozice in Slovenia.

The manager made a number of changes for the friendly clash in Ljubljana, his side falling behind in the 72nd minute when Adam Cerin got into the box and beat Diogo Costa.

João Félix hit the post but that was as close as the Seleção came to scoring as they ended with two shots on target.

Slovenia doubled their lead in the 80th minute when Timi Elsnik fired a fierce strike past Costa, the hosts going close to making it 3-0 in the 90th minute when Zan Celar was denied by Costa.

Martínez will forget about this one as soon as possible. Portugal return to action in June when they host Finland, Croatia and Republic of Ireland before travelling to Germany to contest the 2024 European Championship.

Slow first half

Portugal’s high press looked to be proving effective early on before Slovenia broke clear, Benjamin Sesko’s shot deflected wide.

The hosts gained confidence in Ljubljana, unable to capitalise after a loose clearance from Pepe’s and Diogo Dalot doing well to get back and make an important interception.

The Seleção were unable to test Jan Oblak, João Félix volleying a difficult chance over the bar in the 32nd minute.

Roberto Martínez made two changes at the break when António Silva and Francisco Conceição replaced Pepe and Otávio.

Poor Portugal

It didn’t make much difference, Sesko skipping over Silva and forcing a save from Diogo Costa.

Félix was attempting to get involved without any success. Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't control Vitinha’s through ball before a decent chance saw the 39-year-old fire a left footed effort well wide.

Portugal managed to sustain a spell of pressure, Gonçalo Inácio heading Vitinha’s cross wide and a well worked move resulting in Dalot shooting over the bar.

Slovenia score

Slovenia weathered the storm and took the lead in the 72nd minute. Zan Celar combined with Sesko who presented a chance for Adam Cerin, the midfielder finding space before firing into the bottom corner.

Félix went close to equalising three minutes later, the forward meeting Rúben Neves’ cross and heading against the post.

Portugal’s first shot on target came in the 79th minute when Vitinha gave Oblak some catching practice. Ronaldo then went down in the box with no penalty awarded, Slovenia doubling their advantage less than 60 second later.

Deserved victory

Matjaz Kek’s side capitalised after some intricate play on the edge of Portugal’s 18-yard box, Timi Elsnik getting around Inácio and Cancelo before smashing his shot past Costa.

Vitinha won a cheap free kick on the edge of the box, Ronaldo setepping up and sending his effort too close to Oblak who punched the ball away from danger. Félix fired over the bar before Martínez brought on João Neves and Jota Silva for João Cancelo and Rúben Neves.

Slovenia had the final chance of the game and should have made it 3-0, Celar getting past António Silva with Costa denying the substitute with a smart save.


Roberto Martínez made wholesale changes after the 5-2 win against Sweden with Pepe, Danilo and Gonçalo Inácio lining up in a back three which was protected by Rúben Neves and Vitinha.

João Cancelo and Diogo Dalot were the wing-backs, Cristiano Ronaldo up front flanked by Otávio and João Félix.

Playing Pepe and Danilo together in a back three is probably something we won’t see again. António Silva replaced Pepe at half-time and was caught out on a number of occasions.

Slovenia forced Portugal to out wide where they were largely ineffective. Otávio is not a winger which meant that most of the time Dalot got the ball there was nowhere to go except sending a cross into the box.

Cancelo frequently made his way inside when Portugal had possession. He created a chance in the first half but may have been better utilised down the left-wing where Félix was isolated.

Ronaldo did little of note up front, one of a number of players that had average outings.

Roberto Martínez will have learned a lot in Ljubljana, Portugal’s poor performance reminiscent of the first half in the 2-0 win in Liechtenstein.

The opening 45 minutes were a write off, his attempt to improve the balance by introducing Francisco Conceição a logical move that went some way to instigating the attack. The debutant had many opportunities to make a difference but was unable to take them.

The Spaniard brought on João Neves and Jota Silva in the 88th minute with his side 2-0 down, a pointless exercise that highlighted a game to forget for the tactician and many of his players. Portugal will be far better when Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes, Palhinha, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Rafael Leão get back on the pitch.

Martínez was philosophical after the game, saying: "Slovenia played very well, as we expected. The goal tonight was not to win. It was trying to win, but experimenting. After 90 minutes, we are even more prepared for the European Championship.

"The game helps, because it gives information. We need to have options within the list and the internship was positive, with the opportunity to work on players individually. We don't like losing, but the objective of the game was to gather information, more than to win.

"It's important to go to the European Championship with conceded goals, because during a game it's important to have a personality to be able to continue playing at the same level. The result is positive for Slovenia, but we have more information to be able to compete in the European Championship in a better way".

By Matthew Marshall

Line Ups

Slovenia (4-4-2): Oblak, Karnicnik, Blazic, Bijol (Drkusic, 87’), Janza, Lovric (Verbic, 67’), Elsnik, Stojanovic, Cerin, Sporar (Celar, 67’), Sesko (Stankovic, 87’)

Portugal (3-4-3): Diogo Costa, Danilo, Pepe (António Silva, 46’), Gonçalo Inácio, Diogo Dalot, Vitinha, Rúben Neves (João Neves, 89’), João Cancelo (Jota Silva, 89’), Otávio (Francisco Conceição, 46’), Cristiano Ronaldo, João Félix


[1-0] Adam Cerin, 72’

[2-0] Timi Max Elsnik, 81’