Cancelo and Guedes on target as Portugal extend unbeaten run
Portugal’s unbeaten streak in the UEFA Nations League was extended on Thursday night, June 9, with a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic. The team led by Cristiano Ronaldo came into the game in high form, having won and drawn one time each of their two previous Group B games.
The Czech Republic was also in good shape, having collected four points from their first two matches to tie for first place with Portugal.
The Czech Republic began the match level on points with its opponents but fell to third after Spain defeated Switzerland 1-0 in Geneva. When the two teams met at José Alvalade Stadium, they were unable to match Portugal’s skill and intensity.
The hosts, Portugal, dominated from the start but were unable to convert possession into points in the beginning. Bernardo Silva later found his Manchester City teammate Joao Cancelo, who rifled home from a tight angle.
The Czech Republic was fortunate not to concede early on, keeping the hosts at bay. However, two goals from defender Cancelo and Valencia winger Goncalo Guedes immediately after the half-hour time mark were enough to demolish an otherwise tenacious opponent. Bernardo Silva’s excellent work on the right allowed him to squirm free and find his City teammate inside him, who blasted through the goalpost.
Cancelo scored with his right foot in the 33rd minute, following a well-placed assist again from Bernado Silva.
“We played a fantastic game,” Guedes stated. “They sought to cancel us out, and they succeeded. We wanted more goals, but this was a significant victory.”
Even though the Czechs looked dangerous on the break in the second half, and a goal would have made it a contest, Vaclav Jurecka blasted wide with a three-on-two advantage. Attempts by the visitors to score a consolation goal over the remainder of the game were useless, as Fernando Santos’ side held on for a decisive victory.
Portugal remained precarious in the second half, with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes exerting their dominance. Ronaldo nearly scored Portugal’s third goal, but Jindřich Staněk saved his first effort of the game.
“I believe the outcome is more than fair. “We had complete control of the game,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos stated after the game. “We got two goals and could have gotten one or two more.”
Portugal now leads the standings in the group with seven points, Spain has five, and the Czech Republic has four after three games.