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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

European Championship: Portugal seal passage to knockouts in style

Silva gave Portugal the lead in the 21st minute, rifling home after Nuno Mendes’ cross deflected kindly into his path, before Akaydin failed to look and passed the ball beyond onrushing goalke­eper Altay Bayindir seven minutes later

Our Bureau, Reuters Dortmund Published 23.06.24, 10:14 AM
Bernardo Silva celebrates after scoring Portugal’s opening goal, during the Group F match against Turkey, as Cristiano Ronaldo looks on, in Dortmund on Saturday.

Bernardo Silva celebrates after scoring Portugal’s opening goal, during the Group F match against Turkey, as Cristiano Ronaldo looks on, in Dortmund on Saturday. AP/PTI

Bernardo Silva’s first goal at a major tournament, a calamitous own goal from Samet Akaydin and a Bruno Fernandes tap-in gave Portugal a comfortable 3-0 win over Turkey on Saturday to guarantee qualification for the last 16 as Group F winners.

Silva gave Portugal the lead in the 21st minute, rifling home after Nuno Mendes’ cross deflected kindly into his path, before Akaydin failed to look and passed the ball beyond onrushing goalke­eper Altay Bayindir seven minutes later.

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Fernandes effectively ended the contest after 56 minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo — who could have become the oldest goalscorer in European Championship history — selflessly passed to the Manchester United player to tap home.

The victory secures Portugal’s progress while Turkey must avoid defeat on Wednesday to the Czechia, who drew 1-1 with Georgia earlier on Saturday, to be certain of qualifying for the knockout rounds.

Portugal started sharply and were unfazed by the deafening whistles from Turkey’s supporters when in possession, with Ronaldo drawing an easy save from Bayindir inside two minutes.

Turkey — who had lost all three of their previous European Championship games against Portugal without scoring — often played out from the back and the gamble almost paid off after 20 minutes, but Pepe’s last-man challenge stopped Orkun Kokcu.

Portugal scored shortly after through a quick break down the left, when Mendes played a dangerous ball across goal which Silva turned home for his first major tournament goal in his 15th game at either the World Cup or European Championship.

A defensive mix-up doubled their lead when Bayindir wandered out of his goal to collect a misplaced pass towards Ronaldo, only to watch Akaydin’s backpass roll past him in slow motion.

Man of the match Silva said: “We’re very happy. We’ve only secured first place and now we have to think about the next phase, we have to work hard because the objective hasn’t been realised yet. We’re on the right track.”

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