Andre Martins’ Stock Rises


Portugal 5-0 Moldova (U21)

Nelson Oliveira’s brace helped the Portuguese National Under-21 team to a thumping 5-0 victory over Moldova and push Portugal into third in their group. Sana, Abel Camara, and Rui Fonte all scored also. The win was a much needed one for the team after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Poland and a 2-1 loss against Russia last month. The team responded well, completely dominating Moldova in every department. Andre Martins was also instrumental to the team’s success tonight, recording two assists.

The game started off well for the Seleccao. Just six minutes in, Nelson Oliveira capitalized on a mistake from a Moldovan defender to bury the ball into the bottom corner and give Portugal an early 1-0 lead. Portugal applied heavily pressure and almost doubled their lead after a wonderful long ball from Andre Martins found Josue’s run on the right. The midfielder padded his header down to the onrushing Rui Fonte, who was unable to get a clean strike away. Andre Martins then came close again after his well-struck free kick was beaten away by the Moldovan goalkeeper. Andre Martins then turned provider for Rui Fonte for Portugal’s second goal. The midfielder picked up the ball on the right side of the pitch and delivered an inch-perfect cross right onto the head of Rui Fonte, who made no mistake with his finish.  Andre Martins was then on the end of Portugal’s chance eight minutes later, after a quick throw-in from Cedric found the winger in space, but Martins couldn’t shoot on frame. Portugal were too hot to handle for Moldova, but it was looking to be more the Andre Martins show than anything else; and what a show it was. Martins continued his impressive game when a quick give-and-go opened up space for the midfielder, whose square ball found Sana, who made no mistake with his shot to make the score 3-0 in Portugal’s favor. Very soon after, Portugal rubbed yet more salt into Moldova’s already throbbing wounds. Ruben Ferreira found space on the left and whipped in a cross which fell plum onto the feet of Nelson Oliveira, who guided the ball into the back of the net.

That was how the half ended: 4-0 Portugal. The Seleccao were ahead and looked worthy victors already. There was more to come, however. Two of the night’s finest performers were substituted off just after half time. Andre Martins and Nelson Oliveira were replaced by Abel Camara and Salvador Agra, respectively. This change was most likely to keep the two players as fit as possible for the team’s upcoming match against Albania, who will most likely pose much more of a threat. The second half was much more laid-back than the first, but Portugal still managed to add to their tally. Rui Fonte was played through and toe-poked a pass to the waiting Abel Camara, who stroked the ball into the back of the net with his less-dominant right-foot. That was how the match ended. With this win, Portugal move into second place in Group 6, and have a chance to qualify for the finals for the first time in what will be six years.

Man-of-the-match: Andre Martins/Nelson Oliveira

Crutch of the match: NO ONE!

Mika, Joao Pereira, Cedric, Pedro Mendes, Ruben, Josue, Sana(Diogo Viana), Andre Martins(Abel Camara), Diogo Amado, Rui Fonte, Nelson Oliveira(Salvador Agra)

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