Italy 0-1 Portugal
After almost three years appearing for the Seleção, Éder scored his first goal today, as Portugal scraped through a 1-0 victory over Italy in a friendly match played in Geneva, Switzerland. For fans of the Portuguese team, Éder has gained a reputation for profligacy in front of goal, despite impressive (yet waning) performances in Portugal for Braga. His excellent finish from Ricardo Quaresma’s trivela cross in the 52nd minute was all Portugal needed to earn the victory, despite going long spells during the match on the back-foot.
Portuguese coach Fernando Santos named a much-changed squad from the one that faced Armenia just three days prior. Beto replaced Rui Patrício in goal, which came as little surprise, as Patrício’s performance on Saturday left much to be desired. Vieirinha and Bruno Alves resumed their spots at right-back and center-back, respectively, and were joined by José Fonte and Fábio Coentrão at center and left-back. In midfield, João Moutinho and Tiago retained their spots, and were joined by Danilo Pereira, who made his first start for the team in only his second-ever appearance. On the wings were Quaresma and Silvestre Varela, with Eder starting up top.
Both teams started brightly, with perhaps Italy the better in the opening exchanges. In the 24th minute, Portugal were forced into making a substitution, after Fábio Coentrão came up injured. He was replaced by Eliseu, whose run in the second half played a huge part in Portugal’s goal. The game was largely one-sided in Italy’s favor in terms of clear-cut chances, but Portugal played competently.
A combination of Beto, the post, and bad shooting were Portugal’s saving graces. But in the 52nd minute, Eliseu bombed forward past one, two, three players and toe-poked the ball to the left wing were Quaresma was hugging the line. Quaresma took a touch and unleashed a pin-point trivela cross directly into Éder’s path. The Braga striker made no mistake, finishing emphatically. Despite a late surge from Italy, Portugal held on and claimed yet another impressive 1-0 victory over a top opponent. Portugal’s game was by no means perfect, but the team played with admirable organization and drive, which ultimately pushed them past Italy.
Beto, Vieirinha(Cédric), Bruno Alves(Daniel Carriço), José Fonte, Fábio Coentrão(Eliseu), João Moutinho, Tiago(Adrien Silva), Danilo Pereira, Quaresma(Pizzi), Varela(Nani), Éder