LISBON, Portugal, June 9 – Portugal scored twice in five minutes to beat the Czech Republic on Thursday and open a two-point lead at the top of Nations League Group A2.
Joao Cancelo and Goncalo Guedes were on target in the 33rd and 38th minutes in Lisbon as Portugal continued their strong start to the competition with a comfortable 2-0 win.
Victory means they are two points clear of Spain, having won two and drawn in their first three games.
“We played a great game,” Guedes said. “They tried to cancel us and that’s what they did. We wanted more goals but it was an important win.
The Czech Republic started the match level on points with their opponents but fell to third place, after Spain beat Switzerland 1-0 in Geneva.
“Portugal showed their quality,” said Czech striker Vaclav Jurecka. “They converted the two chances they created in the first half. I could have scored with my chance too but I went into the top corner and missed. I’m sorry I couldn’t help the team more.
The Czech Republic travel to Spain on Sunday while Portugal will have the chance to extend their advantage when they play away against Switzerland in what has been an encouraging few weeks for Fernando Santos’ side.
Portugal had to go through the play-offs to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, beating Turkey and North Macedonia to avoid an embarrassing exit.
But the convincing victory came after they drew 1-1 with Spain in their opener before beating Switzerland 4-0 in the second, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice.
Cancelo also got on the scoresheet there and the Manchester City defender scored twice in as many appearances scoring just after the half-hour mark against the Czechs.
It came from brilliant work by Bernardo Silva, who cleared down the right and found his City team-mate inside, who fired a shot.
Five minutes later it was two and once again Bernardo was at the heart of the game, sliding past Guedes, who swept away a superb finish past Jindrich Stanek.
The Czechs looked dangerous on the second half break and a goal could have made it a game, but Jurecka fired wide when they had a three against two.
Ronaldo almost added a third for Portugal but his first effort of the game was saved by Stanek.