Andre Silva scores winner

Portugal rested Cristiano Ronaldo and still overcame new-look Italy 1-0 in their opening Nations League match on Monday, giving visiting coach Roberto Mancini plenty to think about.

By TT Bureau in Lisbon
  • Published 12.09.18
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Italy’s Giacomo Bonaventura vies for the ball with Portugal’s Andre Silva in Lisbon

Lisbon: Portugal rested Cristiano Ronaldo and still overcame new-look Italy 1-0 in their opening Nations League match on Monday, giving visiting coach Roberto Mancini plenty to think about.

Forward Andre Silva scored three minutes after half-time in the League A Group 3 game to give the Portuguese their first win over Italy in a competitive match since 1957.

Kosovo clinched their first-ever win in a competitive international by beating the Faroe Islands 2-0. Two goals in a six-minute spell after half=time by Arber Zeneli and Atdhe Nuhiu earned Kosovo the points in the League D Group 3 match, which was also the first time they had staged a competitive game in Kosovo itself.

Dutch-based Zeneli curled a superb shot into the bottom corner in the 50th minute and Nuhiu, who plays for English second tier side Sheffield Wednesday, doubled their advantage with a deflected effort to spark jubilant scenes at a packed Fadil Vokrr stadium.

Kosovo were admitted as members of Uefa and subsequently Fifa in 2016 following a long campaign during which they faced fierce opposition from Serbia.

Italy forward Mario Balotelli, widely criticised after his performance against the Poles, did not even make the substitutes bench and watched the match from the stands.

Italy, who missed out on this year's World Cup for the first time in 60 years, are without a win in four competitive matches.

Portugal, who agreed to give their record scorer Ronaldo time to adapt following his move to Juventus from Real Madrid, lead the group with three points, ahead of Poland and Italy on one each. The European champions dominated the first half against the Italians but failed to make the most of their chances.

Portugal's Bernardo Silva saw a shot cleared off the line by Alessio Romagnoli, Mario Rui's shot was deflected onto the bar and a William Carvalho shot fizzed past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma's post from 25 metres. The deadlock was finally broken after half-time.

Bruma, wearing the number seven shirt which usually belongs to Ronaldo, dispossessed Italian debutant Manuel Lazzari, burst into the area and found Silva who curled a shot past Donnarumma from 12 metres.

Portugal, in typically pragmatic style, dropped back after the goal but Italy did little with the extra possession.

Their best chance fell to Simone Zaza who beat Carvalho to a corner but headed over from close range.

Reuters

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