Manchester United players guided Portugal to a 4-0 triumph over the Czech Republic in their Nations League A-Group 2 match on Saturday, but Cristiano Ronaldo did not score.
Ronaldo’s clubmate Diogo Dalot scored twice, each side of a Bruno Fernandes goal before Liverpool striker Diogo Jota scored the game-winning goal in Prague.
The result sets up a crucial match against Spain at home on Tuesday, who suffered a shock 2-1 setback at home against Switzerland, knowing that a draw would be enough to get to the final four.
Portugal leads the group with ten points, one more than Spain, with five matches remaining.
“It’s a special feeling to be able to support my country,” Dalot added. “We knew it was going to be a tough game if we didn’t start with the appropriate attitude.”
“We started the game extremely well, controlling the ball, then the spaces started to open up a little after the goals.” Congratulations to everyone; we earned this victory, and it’s now time to replenish our batteries.”
Ronaldo required treatment early on after being hit in the face by goalie Tomas Vaclik, but he persevered.
Portugal dominated possession and scored in the 33rd minute when Rafael Leao swung a ball into the area and Dalot blasted past Tomas Vaclik.
Ronaldo had a chance to double the advantage before Fernandes extended the visitors’ lead in first-half added time when he sprinted into the area and finished a close-range cross.
Ronaldo then gave up a penalty for handball, but Patrik Schick fired it over the crossbar just before halftime.
Dalot scored his second goal shortly after the break, and Jota completed the scoring in the 82nd minute, putting the 2019 champions in first place for the semi-finals.
“The Czechs have a strong team, but we were well prepared and executed our game plan flawlessly.” “The game was over after the third goal,” stated Portugal coach Fernando Santos.
“We were too passive, and our pressuring was awful,” Schick said. “We should have tried to be more involved in the game.” Portugal was far superior and deserved to win.”