RONALDO AND PORTUGAL INTO PLAY-OFFS AFTER DRAMATIC 2-1 LOSS TO SERBIA
Serbia Clinched automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup finals after a 90th minute header by half-time substitute Alexander Mitrovic gave them a 2-1 win over Portugal.
Serbia booked a place in the 2022 World Cup finals after a 90th minute header by substitute Alexander Mitrovic gave them a 2-1 comeback win over Portugal in their Group A qualifier on Sunday.
The result sent Serbia top of Group A with 20 points, three more than second-placed Portugal, who only needed a draw to finish top of the group and clinch an automatic spot in next year’s World Cup finals to be hosted in Qatar.
Rui Patricio was well beaten by Mitrovic’s downward header at the far post sparking wild celebrations on Serbia’s bench after Dusan Tadic scored a captains goal to cancel out an early Renato Sanches opener for Portugal.
Portugal made a dream start to the fixture in the second minute after Bernado Silva robbed Nemanja Gudelj of the ball in a dangerous area and fed Renato Sanches who drove it easily past goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.
The visitors came close when Dusan Vlahovic who was started as lone striker ahead of Mitrovic, hit the post with a spectacular strike before Patricio gifted Serbia with an equalizer. A seemingly innocuous raid ended with a Dusan Tadic deflected strike beating Rui Patricio.
More goalkeeping errors presented Portugal with a chance to take the lead at the stroke of half time as Rajkovic spilled the ball, but Joao Motinho’s strike was cleared on the line by Nikola Milenkovic.
Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic made the gamble and substituted Gudelj for Mitrovic. The gamble paid off as Alexander Mitrovic scored at stoppage time to give Serbia a deserved win.
Portugal have been condemned into the playoffs where they will play more games to try and book a spot in next year’s World Cup finals to be held in Qatar.