Portugal bag the 3 points after a 1-0 victory against Italy in their first UEFA Nations League match.

Portugal won against Italy 1-0 in their opening UEFA Nations League match on Monday. They won the match despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence from the match giving visiting coach Roberto Mancini a lot to think about. Portugal secured a win on their Nations League debut.

Mancini, in only his 2nd competitive match in charge, executed nine changes to the team which started Friday’s 1-1 draw at home to Poland, but his side remained on the back foot for a maximum time of the match. Italy player Mario Balotelli, widely criticised after his appearance against the Poles, did not even make the substitutes bench and observed the match from the stands.

Portugal, who have allowed to give their record scorer Ronaldo time to adapt following his move to Juventus from Real Madrid, now lead the group with 3 points, ahead of Poland and Italy on 1 each. The European Champions dominated the first half against the Italians but failed to secure most of their crucial chances.

The hosts had already threatened Italy when a deflected Bruma attempt hit the bar in the first half, while Alessio Romagnoli had to clear off the line to deny Bernardo Silva. Forward Andre Silva scored 3 minutes after half-time in the League A Group 3 game to give the Portuguese their first win against Italy in a competitive match since 1957.

Portugal’s Bernardo Silva saw a shot cleared off by Alessio Romagnoli, Mario Rui’s shot was diverted onto the bar and a William Carvalho shot rolled past the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma‘s post from 25 meters.

The deadlock was finally broken after half-time when  Bruma, wearing the No. 7 shirt which usually belongs to Ronaldo, ousted Italy debutant, Manuel Lazzari, burst into the area and found Silva who curled a shot past Donnarumma from 12 meters.

Portugal, in typically pragmatic style, dropped back after the goal but Italy did very little with the extra possession. Their best opportunity fell to Simone Zaza who beat Carvalho to a corner but headed away from close range.

Italy missed out on World Cup 2018  and this has happened for the first time in 60 years. They are now without a win in 4 competitive matches.

Portugal will face Poland in their next UEFA Nations League fixture on 12th October.

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