Portugal ease past Turkey to book spot in knockout phase – Sport

DORTMUND: Portugal cruised to a 3-0 win against Turkey on Saturday and booked their spot in the Euro 2024 last 16 as Group F winners thanks to a Bernardo Silva strike, an own-goal by Samet Akaydin and a Bruno Fernandes tap-in.

Silva scored his first goal in a major international tournament in the 21st minute when a cross from Nuno Mendes deflected off a Turkish defender to find the Manchester City forward ghosting alone in the area, who then smashed it past the goalkeeper to put the Portuguese ahead.

Seven minutes later, Turkish defender Akaydin made a comical mistake as he tried to play the ball back to his goalkeeper who was out of position and there was nothing he could to stop it from rolling into the net despite their desperate attempts to keep it out.

Portugal kept dominating and extended their lead after substitute Ruben Neves set Cristiano Ronaldo free with a long ball to beat the offside line and, after drawing in the goalkeeper, squared the ball for Fernandes who only had to tap it into an empty goal.

The win lifts Portugal to a guaranteed first place in Group F on six points, three ahead Turkey in second and five ahead of Georgia and Czech Republic with one game to go.

European Championship newcomers Georgia held the Czechs to a 1-1 draw earlier on Saturday, taking a shock lead through a Georges Mikautadze penalty before an equaliser off the chest of Patrik Schick.

Though Georgia will be proud of a first point at a major tournament against a team ranked 40 places higher, it could have been even better, substitute Saba Lobjanidze squandering a glorious chance to win the game at the death.

Both teams need to win their final group matches to progress to the knockout stages in Germany.

In an intense game at Hamburg’s Voklsparkstadion, Mikautadze sent Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek the wrong way with his spot-kick in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time after a handball by Robin Hranac.

That came against the run of play after the Czechs had dominated and goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made a string of superb saves to keep his team in the game.

But Schick got the equaliser the Czechs deserved in the 59th minute, steering the ball in with his chest after Ondrej Lingr’s glancing header from a corner bounced off the post.

“We had a bit of a bad luck today, we had chances to win, but in the end we managed to draw and the point may after all mean qualifying, we have no options left but to win against the Turks,” Lingr said.

Georgia had a glorious chance right at the end of the match to win the game but at the end of a three-on-one break, substitute Lobjanidze blazed over with just the goalkeeper to beat.

“Our first point is a historic moment, of course we could have won right at the last, I am disappointed about that but this is football and anything can happen,” said Mama­rdashvili. “Of course it’s an important moment but he needs to keep on going. He should be proud, we earned our first point.”

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