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Portugal beat Italy without Ronaldo

Portugal beat Italy without Ronaldo

As Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed his time off at the French Riviera, his Portugal teammates were busy handing Italy another disappointing result in the UEFA Nations League. Portugal did not need CR7 — who skipped international duty to recharge after a busy summer — to beat Italy 1-0 in Europe’s newest soccer competition.

Andre Silva struck a stylish goal as Portugal took control of their Nations League group by beating Italy. Silva, who had a poor season in Italy with AC Milan before joining Sevilla on loan in August, controlled and steered in Bruma's cross in the 48th minute.

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo, excused from international duty and pictured relaxing with his family on a yacht in St Tropez. Yet Fernando Santos' side still had the better of this League A Group 3 match.

The win took them to the top of the group on three points, two clear of Poland and Italy.

Roberto Mancini's side, showing nine changes from the team who drew their Nations League opener 1-1 with Poland in Bologna on Friday, looked disjointed for much of the night in Lisbon. Mancini left striker Mario Balotelli out of the squad altogether, and retained only goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and midfielder Jorginho from Friday's starting line-up.

Donnarumma, the AC Milan teenager, was fortunate not to concede just before the half-hour mark, fumbling Bruma's header under pressure, then watching as Bernardo Silva's drive goalwards was cleared off the line by Alessio Romagnoli.

The keeper redeemed himself in the second half after his team went behind, though, with a flying save to tip away forward Silva's 20-yard angled shot, and was sharp again late on to stop substitute Renato Sanches' low shot.

Portugal should have been in front before they did score; Bryan Cristante deflected a Mario Rui cross against his own bar just after the half-hour mark, and the home side were then denied a penalty when Domenico Criscito blocked off Pizzi inside the area - with Scottish referee Willie Collum declaring it a fair challenge.

On Monday (Sep 10) Italy were better in the closing stages, once Domenico Berardi and Emerson Palmieri came on, but without creating any clear chances.

Historic Kosovo

Two goals five minutes apart early in the second half gave Kosovo a historic 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands in Group 3 of the fourth-tier League D. Kosovo, the Balkan republic which was accepted by UEFA and FIFA two years ago, had opened with a 0-0 draw at Azerbaijan.

Turkey beat Sweden

Turkey bounced back from an opening loss to Russia by coming from two goals down to defeat Sweden 3-2 thanks to two late goals by Emre Akbaba. Akbaba scored in the 88th minute and two minutes into stoppage time to give Turkey the League B victory.

Sweden, making its Nations League debut following its surprising quarterfinal appearance at the World Cup, had taken a 2-0 lead by the 49th minute at Friends Arena in Stockholm.

It was Turkey’s first away win in seven matches.

Lower Leagues

In the third-tier League C, Scotland ended its run of three straight losses with a 2-0 win over Albania in Group 1.

In Group 4, Serbia and Romania drew 2-2, while Montenegro defeated Lithuania 2-0.

In League D, Andorra and Kazakhstan drew 1-1 in Group 1, while Malta drew with Azerbaijan 1-1 in Group 3.

The Nations League guarantees at least one of Europe’s low-ranked League D teams will qualify for Euro 2020 through a playoffs.

- Source: News websites