Preview - Portugal vs Italy 11 September 18

Started by Harry85, Sep 10, 2018, 05:26 AM

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Uefa Nations League A Group 3
Portugal vs Italy
Tuesday, September 11th, 2018
03:45am (GMT +8 Timing)
Stadium:  Estadio da Luz

Last five matches form: D W D L D
Average goals per match (last ten games): 1.40
Average goals against per match (last ten games): 1.30
Top Scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (85)

Last five matches form: D W L D D
Average goals per match (last ten games): 0.80
Average goals against per match (last ten games): 1.10
Top Scorer: Mario Balotelli (14)

Another cracking contest in store in the Uefa Nations League this week - with the competition already looking set to significantly add to the International Football programme - as Roberto Mancini's Italy side take on Portugal.

The big news from a Portugal perspective is of course that their captain, talisman and all-time top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, won't be lining up for this one. The Juventus man deeming that he is not fit enough at present for the rigours of both club and international football.

For years Portugal have been a rock-solid defensive side who have almost solely relied on Ronaldo to create the magic at the other end of the field. It will be interesting to see how they fare in this game without him.

Italy remain a team in transition, following their failure to qualify for the World Cup which so shocked the nation. They have just one win in their past eight, and with that coming over Saudi Arabia, they certainly can't be said to be in the best form.

This has the look of a defensively minded encounter. Portugal did manage a draw without Ronaldo against World Cup finalists Croatia in midweek though which was a solid result, That in combination with home advantage may see them just nick this.

Prediction: Portugal 1 - 0 Italy


Half time: 0 - 0
Full time: 1 - 0
Shots:  9 - 7
Shots on target: 6 - 2
Corner Kicks: 6 -11
Possession: 54% - 46%

Five bookings in this one. Ruben Neves and Pepe seeing yellow for Portugal and Domenico Criscito, Federico Chiesa and Domenico Berardi of Italy also having their names taken by referee William Collum.

A deserved win for Portugal. They may have missed the cutting edge in the final third of the absent Cristiano Ronaldo, but then what side wouldn't? They bossed this one throughout with Italy only threatening the merest semblance of a comeback when the home side began to sit back in the closing stages.

It looked a big job for Roberto Mancini from the moment he took charge of Italy, and it doesn't look any easier now. This Italian side at present is the very definition of workmanlike, looking almost totally devoid of flair throughout the ninety minutes here.

Portugal really should have taken a lead into the break, seeing one effort deflected onto the crossbar with Gianluigi Donnarumma stranded, and another shot cleared off the line by Alessio Romagnoli.

The home side really also ought to have had a penalty when Pizzi seemed to be clearly and deliberately blocked in the area. The referee waved play on though, much to the consternation of the home players and fans. 0-0 at the break though.

The breakthrough wasn't long in coming in the second half. Italy carelessly losing possession in the middle of the park in the 53rd minute and Bruma breaking forward into the left of the area with pace. His ball across the area didn't initially look the best but was deflected straight to the feet of Andre Silva around ten yards out. Something of a flop at Milan, Silva showed the watching Italian fans that he could finish after all with an excellent effort into the bottom left corner.

Italy had Donnarumma to thank for the deficit remaining at just the one, with one save from Bernard Silva in particular falling firmly into the world class bracket.

Other than a multitude of corners though the Italians could muster nothing going forward. 1-0 final score.

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