Aleksandar Mitrovic’s winner at the last minute snatched the automatic World Cup qualifier for Serbia at the expense of Portugal in Lisbon on Sunday night.
It was a match that had to be won for the Serbs, who came into the match level on points but with an inferior goal difference against their hosts, who only needed to avoid defeat to secure their place at next year’s spectacle in Qatar.
It was Serbia that drew the first blood – by shooting themselves straight in the foot. Just two minutes later, Nemanja Gudelj was robbed of possession on the edge of his own penalty area by the cunning Bernardo Silva. The ball was cleared off the boot of the defender, Renato Sanches.
Serbia came within the width of the woodwork to equalize ten minutes later when Dusan Vlahovic pounded his foot off the post, before Cristiano Ronaldo twice went close at the other end.
Another crucial mistake gave the guests an equalizer just after half an hour. Dusan Tadic’s deflected shot looked like it would be easy enough to stop for Rui Patricio, but he misjudged his save terribly when the ball hit him and ran painfully across the line.
Portugal almost restored their lead just before half-time, but Danilo Pereira’s dismissive header fell just over the bar.
It seemed as if Seleçao had seen a tough second half with few chances to secure the point they needed, but in the last minute of normal time Tadic selected Mitrovic with a deep cross and the striker did not even have to jump when he nodded the ball into the net. without resistance. Incredible.
SERBIA qualifies for the World Cup 2022. Portugal is in the playoff lottery.
This is how Portugal’s players rated …
It was a night to forget for Rui Patricio / Gualter Fatia / GettyImages
Rui Patricio (GK) – 5/10 – Had little to do before he terribly misjudged a deflected shot from Tadic, which he could not stop from sliding over the line. Could not do anything for the winner.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – 6/10 – Booked for a very heavy early challenge. Could easily have been expelled for a second offense just after the equalizer. Can not move forward as he does at club level.
Jose Fonte (CB) – 6/10 – Yes, he is still starting for Portugal. Rolled back the years with some nice passes through the lines. Takes some responsibility for the terrible defense of Serbia’s winners.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 6/10 – Saw Vlahovic very closely but struggled to deal with him sometimes. Same as Fonte for the last goal – terrible organization.
Nuno Mendes (LB) – 6/10 – Often out the ball down to the left and was composed. Luckily he was not booked for a late challenge and sometimes engaged in physical battles that he could not win. Decisive intervention late.
Renato Sanches premiered / Carlos Rodrigues / GettyImages
Danilo Pereira (DM) – 7/10 – No frills but kept things ticking over. Went close with a rejected nod. Subbad when Portugal got to an equalizer.
Renato Sanches (CM) – 8/10 – Did not look calm, but held his head to strike after only two minutes. A little too loose in possession sometimes. Grew in influence again after half time and looked like a real threat. Booked.
Joao Moutinho (CM) – 6/10 – Game passed him somewhat in the first half. Booked after the break for a cynical trip. Subbed.
It was a very bad night for Ronaldo and co. / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / GettyImages
Bernardo Silva (RW) – 8/10 – Brilliant work to pinch the ball from Gudelj and assist the goal. Demonstrated a dazzling ability at times when radiating confidence. Subbed as Portugal looked to look like the match – probably a decision the coach regrets.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 6/10 – Stuck the goalkeeper’s fingertips before putting a free kick over the crossbar. Deeply lowered and looking to get involved but could not really influence the procedure. Not his night.
Diogo Jota (LW) – 6/10 – Buzzed around and looked like a constant threat, although not much fell in the way. Maybe did not fit the ball well enough. Subbed.
Joao Palhinha (CM) – 6/10 – Mucked in on the defensive side and carried the ball skillfully. One of many who were not turned on for the late, late goal.
Bruno Fernandes (AM) – 6/10 – Does not look like the same player for Portugal. Could not affect result.
Joao Felix (LW) – N / A
Ruben Neves (CM) – N / A
Andre Silva (ST) – N / A