Silva lifts Portugal past Italy

  • UEFA Nations Cup
- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, LISBON

Sep 12, 2018-

Andre Silva scored the only goal as European champions Portugal — without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo — got their Nations League campaign off the mark with a 1-0 win over Italy in Lisbon on Monday.

Ronaldo, 33, had been left out of the squad at his own request to focus on his new Italian club Juventus. But the Euro 2016 winners showed no sign of missing their star striker, dominating the Italians to secure their first three points in a Group 3 that also includes Poland. Italy coach Roberto Mancini suffered his first competitive setback after being held by Poland 1-1 in their opener on Friday in Bologna, with the Azzurri on one point after two games.

“We made too many mistakes, but the lads gave everything,” said Mancini. “We need to find a solution to scoring goals because you don’t win games without scoring. That’s our main problem right now. ”

Silva scored three minutes into the second half with AC Milan’s on-loan Sevilla striker collecting a Bruma cross to beat his former Milan teammate Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italy goal.

Italy had been fortunate to keep their goal clear in the first half, largely thanks to Donnarumma, as Portugal dictated play in the Estadio Da Luz. Bernardo Silva’s effort was cleared off the line by Alessio Romagnoli with a Bruma shot deflected onto the bar. Italy fought back with Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza threatening just before the break. Mancini had rang the changes with an experimental side with seven new players starting.

SPAL’s Manuel Lazzari made his international debut on the right of defense. Federico Chiesa and Andre Silva both missed chances early, while a Zaza back-heel flick for Immobile was cleared in the box. William Carvalho fired just wide from distance.

Portugal grabbed the winner soon after the restart through Silva with Bernardo Silva coming close to a second only for Donnarumma to clear. The four-time world champions now risk being relegated from their Nations League group after also failing to qualify for the World Cup.  In the three-team group Portugal play in Poland on October 11, with Italy again facing the Poles on October 15.

CL Results

Portugal    1-0    Italy

Sweden    2-3    Turkey

Scotland    2-0    Albania

Serbia    2-2    Romania

Montenegro    2-0    Lithuania

Andorra    1-1    Kazakhstan

Malta    1-1    Azerbaijan

Kosovo    2-0    Faroe Islands

Published: 12-09-2018 08:27

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