Portugal Triumphs, but Ronaldo’s Foul Leads to Unexpected Consequences

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Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score and received a yellow card as Portugal beat hosts Slovakia 1-0 in Group J of Euro 2024 qualifying.

*Score: Bruno Fernandes 43′.

On the Tehelné pole, Bratislava on the evening of September 8, Ronaldo played the whole match. He twice won the ball contest phase but did not succeed once. The Portugal captain finished six times – the most of any player on either side, including three on goal and three off target, but failed to score.

Ronaldo’s best chance came in the 76th minute, after a favorable pass from Bruno Fernandes, but the shot from a tight corner failed to beat goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. About 15 minutes earlier, Ronaldo had to receive a yellow card after a strong collision with Dubravka himself. This is the 38-year-old striker’s third yellow card in the first five matches of Euro 2024 qualifying, causing him to miss the next game against Luxembourg on September 11.

Ronaldo received a yellow card after a collision with the goalkeeper of the home team Slovakia, on the evening of September 8. Photo: LUSA

Ronaldo received a yellow card after a collision with goalkeeper Dubravka at Tehelné pole, Bratislava on the evening of September 8. Photo: LUSA

Portugal is ranked 9th in the world, while Slovakia’s position is 47. But the game on the field is not too different. The away team controlled the ball 57%, shot 12 times, compared to 10 for the home team. In the 17th minute, it was the first time that Portugal finished in the right direction of the goal. But Fernandes’ shot was easily neutralized by goalkeeper Dubravka.

Slovakia attacks little, but can still make it difficult for Portugal. The home team played high pressing, causing the opponent to constantly lose the ball. Outside, coach Roberto Martinez stood with his arms crossed and looked tense. In the 42nd minute, Slovakia even nearly opened the scoring. Lukas Haraslin had enough space and time to correct the ball, but missed the Portuguese goal.

Immediately after this broken phase of the host, Portugal suddenly opened the scoring. From Bernardo Silva’s pass, Fernandes penetrated the right side of the penalty area and then sank diagonally, out of Dubravka’s reach. The midfielder on the Man Utd payroll scored on his 29th birthday.

Bruno Fernandes (left) celebrates opening the scoring in the match Slovakia - Portugal on the evening of September 8. Photo: A Bola

Bruno Fernandes (left) celebrates opening the scoring in the match Slovakia – Portugal on the evening of September 8. Photo: A Bola

After the goal, Slovakia attacked stronger. The home team repeatedly threatened the penalty area and pushed Portugal into a defensive position. In the last 30 minutes, the game turned open. Slovakia pushed up the attack to find the equalizer. Meanwhile, Portugal also tried to get on the ball to widen the distance, but failed.

In the offset time, Slovakia created many fixed situations towards the Portuguese goal. However, the away team successfully defended the victory 1-0. With the fifth victory in a row, Ronaldo and his teammates continue to lead Group J with 15 absolute points. Meanwhile, Slovakia is second with 10 points. Luxembourg also has 10 points, but ranks third due to poor difference.

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