Goncalo Guedes and Joao Mario impressed as Portugal sealed a comfortable 3-1 victory over Qatar on Saturday.
Portugal continued their winning momentum by sealing a 3-1 victory over Qatar, in Debrecen, Hungary. It was an important win for the 2016 European champions as they look to wrap up their international break with a resounding win over Azerbaijan in the next game.
Portugal started the game without Cristiano Ronaldo who was allowed to leave the camp to settle into Manchester United, having rejoined the club late in the transfer window. This friendly also gave coach Fernando Santos the perfect excuse to completely shuffle his team ahead of the crucial qualifying game against Azerbaijan.
Despite the wholesale changes, however, Portugal were still the dominant side, looking quite dangerous forward and crafting scoring opportunities. They deservedly found the breakthrough in the 23rd minute, thanks to Joao Mario, whose cross found Andre Silva. Minutes later, the Portuguese doubled their tally, this time off a cross from Goncalo Guedes, with debutant Otavio scoring the goal.
Although the European giants continued to dominate the game, Qatar, hoping to avoid humiliation, opted for a tighter approach in defence, especially after their goalkeeper was sent off just before half-time after denying a clear goalscoring opportunity for Guedes. Their resistance paid off when Abdelkarim Hassan pulled one back for the team, out of nowhere in the 61st minute.
It was a memorable goal for Qatar, although it wasn’t enough to inspire a comeback, with Portugal restoring their two-goal cushion with a Bruno Fernandes penalty in the 86th minute. Qatar had another man sent off during the final minute of added time, adding to the woes for the gulf country.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule of the Portuguese players in their convincing win over Qatar this weekend.
Anthony Lopes: 6/10
Anthony Lopes couldn’t have done much to prevent the bullet header from Hassan in the second half. He otherwise had a quiet game, with the opposition mustering only two shots on target throughout the course of the 90 minutes.
— Qatar Football Association (@QFA_EN) September 4, 2021
Nelson Semedo: 6.5/10
Nelson Semedo was tasked with marking Hassan for the Qatar goal and partly deserves the blame for conceding the header. Did a decent job going forward, though, offering some width to the game that helped Portugal stretch out the opposition.
Domingos Duarte: 6.5/10
Domingos Duarte had to remain alert for the most part of the game, as Qatar tried everything they can to force a goal, especially in the first-half. The defender remained strong enough, although the marking was certainly off for the Hassan goal.
Danilo Pereira: 6.5/10
Danilo Pereira’s experience and imposing presence at the back was vital for Portugal to keep the opposition attackers in check. He wasn’t overly impressive by any margin, though.
Nuno Mendes: 5/10
Nuno Mendes was given the nod in this friendly, but the youngster did not make the desired impact. He was often very tame with his forays down the flanks and has a long way to go before he can realistically compete with Raphael Guerreiro.
Ruben Neves: 6.5/10
Ruben Neves did well in the middle of the park, especially when it comes to retaining possession and building the ball from midfield. But frankly, he was not up against a lot of quality and it was rather easy for him to distribute passes all around the park.
Joao Moutinho: 6.5/10
Joao Moutinho made a solid impression with his offensive passing and was able to unleash marvellous through balls in behind the defence whenever the chance arrived. Aside from that, the veteran midfielder did not have to do, distributing possession and avoiding any real errors.
Joao Mario: 7.5/10
Joao Mario looked like a man on a mission during the first quarter of the game. He looked bright in the final third with all his creative work rate, notably registering the assist for the opener with a truly sumptuous cross. His influence did fade as the game progressed.
QUASE SAI O TERCEIRO! ❌ Nesse jogão que você vê no @EstadioBR (https://t.co/QfVGLo0yCh) e na @TNTbr, André Silva tenta marcar mais um, mas Barsham faz uma GRANDE defesa e salva o Qatar! #AmistososNaTNTSports
— TNT Sports Brasil (@TNTSportsBR) September 4, 2021
Goncalo Guedes: 7.5/10
Goncalo Guedes produced yet another assist with one of his crosses in the first half, to feed Otavio. The winger continues to impress in the national team with his ability to deliver driving crosses into the box, and could certainly make a case for starting against Azerbaijan if he keeps up his form.
Andre Silva: 7/10
Andre Silva did what he does best, positioning himself in excellent scoring situations and was rewarded with the opener. He was evidently a thorn in the side for the Qatari defence that had to keep check of his every movement.
Andre Silva’s last two goals for Portugal:
◉ 5/9/2020 vs. Croatia
◉ 4/9/2021 vs. Qatar
Nearly a year apart. 📅 pic.twitter.com/a3F1tMQyn8
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 4, 2021
Otavio made a solid impression in his debut for the Portuguese national team. He scored the second goal for his team, capitalising on Guedes’ excellent cross. Aside from the goal, the winger also provided pace and trickery out wide.
Bruno Fernandes: 7/10
Bruno Fernandes came on for Moutinho around the hour mark to offer more creativity going forward. Scored Portugal’s third from the penalty spot in the 86th minute.
Diogo Jota: 7/10
Diogo Jota made an excellent run in behind the defence to win the penalty that was scored by Fernandes. Always a difficult man to defend, particularly with his runs in behind defences.
Francisco Trincao: 6/10
Francisco Trincao replaced Mario midway through the first half. Not much of an impact from the Wolves forward.
Ruben Dias: 6.5/10
Ruben Dias replaced Neves, with Santos taking no risks by bringing on the extra man in defence.
Raphael Guerreiro: N/A
A late replacement for Mendes. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.