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Portugal keeps Italy off scoreboard to move into Nations League finals

By IANS Updated: Nov 18, 2018 9:43 pm
Portugal’s Mario Rui, left, and Italy’s Nicolo Barella jump for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan on Nov. 17. (AP/PTI)

Rome, Nov. 18 (IANS): The Portugal football squad tied Italy 0-0 at San Siro Stadium and so added the point it was lacking to move on to the finals of the UEFA Nations League, to be contested in June 2019.

Portugal withstood the pressure of an Italy that dominated the Saturday’s match throughout the first half and set up many opportunities to take the lead – particularly two beautiful chances for Ciro Immobile, whose shots unfortunately went astray, reports Efe.

Fernando Santos’s Portugal team, led by the defense of goalkeeper Rui Patricio, remains unbeaten in Group 3 and became the first squad guaranteed a place in the semifinals next June.

For its part, Italy had to settle for a tie, the sixth consecutive on its home turf, and wrapped up its drive toward the UEFA Nations League finals with one win, two ties and one defeat.

At the start it all looked different, when Italy’s control of the ball pretty much kept Portugal at its own end of the field for the entire first half, but was itself held to a tie until halftime thanks to some deft blocks by Portugal’s Rui Patricio and Immobile’s misplaced shots at goal.

And then, as the minutes passed in the second half, the Italians lost their intensity while Portugal gained theirs to make it a very even contest. And despite Italian coach Mancini replacing Immobile with the much more dynamic striker Kevin Lasagna, the score ended as it began, 0-0.


By IANS Updated: Nov 18, 2018 9:43:19 pm