PORTUGAL – André Silva and a new star Otávio helped Portugal to find this Saturday a winning formula without Cristiano’s presence against Qatar, against which he rehearsed in a friendly that serves to warm up engines before continuing his qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
Those of Fernando Santos faced in Hungary a match that was seen as a testing ground for the Portuguese, who know that they will not have their top star next Tuesday in the qualifying match against Azerbaijan, and also for the Qataris themselves, led by the Spanish Félix Sánchez.
It was urgent to balance the Portuguese team, Santos warned in previous hours, and for this he disrupted the entire starting eleven seen before the previous qualifying match against Ireland, with the inclusion this Saturday of Otávio, born in Brazil and nationalized Portuguese, as a great novelty.
The first few measures showed the lack of coordination that the coach feared, with the first great chance at the feet of Ali Almoez for Qatar, just in the 9th minute with a very dangerous shot, and a Portugal that did not know where to attack.
Semedo, Otávio and João Mário insisted on the right, cut by the Qataris, without the quinas showing a solid game, until the pieces in the center of the field ended up fitting after the first quarter of an hour, with Otávio in harmony. And by André Silva’s work, he arrived first in the 23rd, with a head start.
Silva thus put an end to a drought with the national team of almost a year, and began about five minutes of madness in which all the machinery seemed perfectly greased: just two minutes later, Otávio put the finishing touch to his premiere with a goal as well. headlining thanks to an assist from Gonçalo Guedes.
Portugal was liked. Another two minutes later, João Mário had the third in his boots, with no luck, and even before the break Semedo left another ball on a tray for André Silva who went to the side, before arriving an unexpected gift at 43.
Qatari goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham then saw a direct red for a tackle on Guedes reviewed in the VAR. With ten players, Qatar was preparing for a difficult second half, in which the Portuguese came in with force – a new warning in João Mário’s 59 – but the quinas, after finding their system, ended up relaxing.
The continuous touch of the ball slowed the pace and the Asians did not miss it. Abdelkarim Hassan scored in 61, leaving Anthony Lopes frozen in the goal.
Conservatives after the set, little by little the Portuguese were coming back and got their other chance in 84, with a penalty in their favor for a foul on Diogo Jota that Bruno Fernandes, in the absence of Cristiano, finished off to make a goal while the Qataris, Between protests, they stayed at 9 after receiving another red.
Portugal, with the exam concluded with flying colors, is already looking at Tuesday’s qualifying match against Azerbaijan.