A goal in the first minute of the match and two goals in the dying minutes were enough to push the Portuguese Under-20 team past Senegal in the Seleção’s opening match of the 2015 U-20 World Cup. Martins scored 26 seconds into the match, but Portugal would have to wait until the last minutes of the match to add to their tally. Substitute Nuno Santos first assisted André Silva, and then scored a wonderful attempt of his own.
Portugal lined up in their normal 4-3-3 formation. André Moreira was between the sticks, with a backline in front of him (from left to right) consisting of Rafa, João Nunes, Domingos Duarte, and Mauro Riquicho, the same backline used last summer for Portugal at the U-19 Euros. Ahead of them, captain Tomás Podstawski anchored the midfield, while Raphael Guzzo and Rony Lopes filled the remaining central midfield roles. On the wings were Gonçalo Guedes and Gelson Martins, on the left and right, respectively. André Silva started up top.
Portugal’s start to the match was as positive as fans could have hoped for. After just 26 seconds, the Seleção were already ahead. Good work on the left from Guedes released André Silva, who controlled the ball, turned, and played a tricky pass into the path of the on-rushing Gelson Martins. Martins’ shot was deflected and looped into the back of the net. With Portugal ahead from such an early point, Senegal predictably pushed forward in search for an equalizer. With Senegal attacking tirelessly, Portugal defended tirelessly. Captain Tomás Podstawski did an excellent job shielding Portugal’s defense, and as a result, Senegal found chances few and far between. Portugal continued to attack in their quick-passing fashion, but the Portuguese were unable to finish any of their chances. Mauro Riquicho, André Silva, and Gonçalo Guedes all saw efforts saved in the period before halftime, as the Portuguese attacked lethally. Despite forays forward, Portugal went into the locker room at halftime only 1-0 up.
Just after halftime, Portugal continued their attacking pressure, and Senegal looked unable to cope. Raphael Guzzo saw his excellent long-range shot cannon back off the crossbar soon after the restart, before efforts from Gelson Martins, Marcos Lopes, and André Silva were well-saved. Despite Portugal’s dominance in the match, the Seleção only found themselves up 1-0 going into the final minutes of the match. Around the 70th minute mark, Gelson Martins turned and released a bizarre chipped-shot, which looped over the goalkeeper and bounced back off the crossbar. The Portuguese were clearly piling on the pressure in search for a second, but to no avail…until Nuno Santos entered the fray in the 89th minute. Within a minute of coming on, Nuno Santos picked up the ball on the left and swung in a cross, which was met by the head of André Silva. His header snuck past the Senegalese goalkeeper, and Portugal had doubled their advantage. But Santos wasn’t done! A quick break from Portugal saw Guzzo play in Santos. With the opposition goalkeeper rushing out, Nuno Santos calmly chipped the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper and into the back of the net from some distance. Pandemonium from players and fans alike followed the goal, and rightfully so. Portugal thoroughly deserved their victory.
The Portuguese next face Qatar on June 3rd in Hamilton.
André Moreira, Mauro Riquicho, João Nunes, Domingos Duarte, Rafa, Tomás Podstawski, Raphael Guzzo, Marcos Lopes(Ivo Rodrigues), Gonçalo Guedes(Francisco Ramos), Gelson Martins(Nuno Santos), André Silva
Scoring: Gelson Martins (1-0), Andre Silva (2-0), Nuno Santos (3-0)
Assists: André Silva (1-0), Nuno Santos (2-0), Raphael Guzzo (3-0)