Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Portugal beat Italy without Ronaldo

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Portugal’s André Silva (right) scores the lone goal during their UEFA Nations League match with Italy at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, Portugal, yesterday.

MADRID (AP):

As Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed his time off at the French Riviera, his Portugal teammates were busy handing Italy another disappointing result in the UEFA Nations League.

Portugal did not need Ronaldo - who skipped international duty to recharge after a busy summer - to beat Italy 1-0 in Europe's newest football competition.

The European champions easily outplayed Italy, which had opened its Nations League campaign with a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Poland in its first competitive match under coach Roberto Mancini.

AndrÈ Silva scored on a counterattack early in the second half to give Portugal the Group 3 win in the top-tier League A. The hosts had several chances to extend their lead at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, while Italy created little and relied mostly on set pieces.

The Nations League gives UEFA's 55-member countries competitive games and eliminates friendlies. The winners of the League A groups - featuring the highest-ranked countries - go into a final-four competition in June.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos did not call up Ronaldo after talking to the player and saying he needed more rest following the FIFA World Cup and his transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus. Ronaldo also did not play in the team's 1-1 draw in a friendly against Croatia last week.

Social-media photos showed Ronaldo and his family enjoying time off in Monaco in recent days.

It was Italy's second competitive match since last year's World Cup playoff loss to Sweden.

 

TURKEY BEAT SWEDEN

 

Turkey bounced back from an opening loss to Russia by coming from two goals down to defeat Sweden 3-2, thanks to two late goals by Emre Akbaba.

Akbaba scored in the 88th minute and two minutes into stoppage time to give Turkey the League B victory.

Sweden, making their Nations League debut following their surprising quarter-final appearance at the World Cup, had taken a 2-0 lead by the 49th minute at Friends Arena in Stockholm.