Fabio Coentrao gives Portugal priceless victory over Serbia
Euro 2016 Group I Qualifier, Estadio da Luz - Portugal 2 (Carvalho 10, Coentrao 63) Serbia 1 (Matic 61)
Fabio Coentrao’s goal gave Portugal a priceless 2-1 victory over Serbia to take his country to the top of Euro 2016 qualifying Group I.
The goal came just moments after Nemanja Matic had equalised with a superb overhead kick which gave Serbia hope they could salvage something from the game.
The visitors had fallen behind when veteran Ricardo Carvalho nodded in a free header after a short corner.
Fernando Santos’ men are two points ahead of closest challengers Denmark while Serbia languish with just one point from their opening four games.
10’ – GOAL! Portugal 1-0 Serbia. Short corner from Portugal who work it to Coentrao. He whips it in from a better angle and finds Carvalho free in the box to nod the ball home with ease.
Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho (R) celebrates his goal against Serbia (Reuters)Reuters
29’- CHANCE! – Ronaldo cuts inside from the left wing and finds some space 35 yards out. He cracks a looping right footed shot towards goal which smashes the crossbar.
60’ – GOAL! Portugal 1-1 Serbia. The corner comes in and is flicked over to the far post and finds Matic who acrobatically volleys the ball into the back of the net
63’ – GOAL! Portugal 2-1 Serbia. Great counter as Ronaldo slips in Moutinho who crosses low to the far post where Coentrao is on hand to tap it into the back of the net
This is the first time a match between these two nations has finished in anything but a 1-1 draw.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored all of Portugal’s Euro 2016 qualifier goals and has 52 in 118 games for his country but didn’t score tonight.
Ricardo Carvalho was the first person to score a goal for Portugal in this European qualifying campaign who isn’t Cristiano Ronaldo.
Can Serbia salvage anything from this campaign after another toothless performance? They didn’t play badly tonight but just didn’t get the result they so desperately needed. They have talented players all playing at the top of club football but one lapse at the back and not enough penetration going forward and they’ve slipped up yet again. All they can hope for out of this campaign now is to iron out their mistakes and use this experience in the World Cup qualifiers starting in 2016.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Nani (Portugal): Tireless in his work both going forwards and defensively. He was a constant thorn in Serbia’s side and his dribbling was direct and intelligent. Often criticised for wasting good positions, Nani’s crossing and passing were both very good today. A performance for the team from the rejuvenated winger.