February 6, 2023

Paris, Sep 25 : Portugal have boosted their chance to the semifinals of the Nations League after a convincing 4-0 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday, topping the group in which Spain suffered a shocking 2-1 loss to Switzerland on the same day.

Portugal, who won the first edition of the tournament in 2019, moved two points ahead of Spain and will host their neighbours in Braga on Tuesday in the showdown of the group stage.

Diogo Dalot opened his international scoring account by hitting a brace with Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota also on target, reports Xinhua. Dalot put Portugal in front after 33 minutes as he carried the ball from the midfield into the attacking third before making a smart run into the box to finish Rafael Leao’s cut-back pass.

Fernandes doubled the lead in the first-half injury time before Cristiano Ronaldo committed a penalty for a handball only seconds before the break, but the Czech striker Patrik Schick failed to convert it.

Dalot scored his second goal in the match only seven minutes into the second half as the Manchester United right-back curled brilliantly into the corner with his left foot.

Substitute Jota finished the rout in the 82nd minute by heading in Ronaldo’s header cross.

In the other match of the group, Luis Enrique’s Spain conceded the first defeat in the group in five games, losing to the Swiss 2-1 at home.

The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji got the better of Cesar Azpilicueta in the air at a corner and nodded past Unai Simon. It was also the 27-year-old’s first international goal in 43 caps.

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“Our first half was as imprecise as any since I’ve been in charge,” said Enrique after the first defeat in nine games.

“I can’t remember a match with so many technical errors, especially on the two corners where we conceded goals.”

Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio found a hole in Switzerland’s defence in the 55th minute when he dribbled past four players before setting up for Jordi Alba’s easy equaliser.

But Switzerland regained the lead from a corner only three minutes later as Breel Embolo headed home from close range.

With this win, Switzerland surpassed the Czech Republic to take the third place in the group and a draw in their last group match with the latter would see it avoid relegation, however, the Czechs need a win to stay in the League A.