Ronaldo leads Portugal ahead of Switzerland and Spain in Prague
Cristiano Ronaldo took Portugal past Switzerland in the Nations League on Sunday as Gavi made history by becoming Spain’s youngest goalscorer ever.
Ronaldo scored two goals in four minutes in the first half and a third was ruled offside by VAR as Portugal thrashed Switzerland 4-0 in Lisbon.
The Manchester United striker had set up William Carvalho for the opener with Joao Cancelo completing the rout to propel Portugal top of League A, Group 2 on goal difference from the Czech Republic.
In Prague, Jakub Pesek put the hosts ahead before Gavi equalized with a low curling left foot at the record age of 17 years and 304 days just before half-time.
Jan Kuchta regained control of the Czechs with a tricky chip but Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez headed home in the final minute to save a 2-2 draw.
“It’s wonderful to be able to say that we are disappointed to lose points against Spain,” said Czech captain Tomas Soucek.
“We showed heart and great teamwork. If someone had told us we would have four points before those two games, we would have taken it. We started well and we are looking forward to the results. next matches.”
“We lacked comfort so the match was really difficult,” shrugged Spanish coach Luis Enrique.
Martinez conceded it wasn’t Spain’s ‘best’ game.
“We came away with one point, but the goal was to win. When you don’t win, when you have great difficulties, you leave disappointed.
Spain reached the final of the Nations League last year, beating European champions Italy in the semi-finals before losing to France, and they enjoyed a relatively smooth qualification for the World Cup.
But they are now behind in this competition and after their first 1-1 draw with Portugal on Thursday they are third in the group, two points behind.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland extended their winless streak in the competition to 12 with a goalless draw in Cyprus
And Georgia are in charge at the top of League C Group 4 after beating Bulgaria 5-2 while Manchester City’s new signing Erling Haaland scored the goals in Norway’s 2-1 win in Sweden.
The Norwegians are top of League B, Group 4 after two wins for Serbia, 4-1 winners against Slovenia.
On Monday, world champions France played their second run in Split against Croatia with Kylian Mbappe, one of several elements of Didier Deschamps’ squad to skip training the day before the game.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker injured his left knee at half-time in Friday’s 2-1 loss to last year’s Nations League winners Denmark at the Stade de France.
Also missing were Karim Benzema, Kingsley Coman, N’Golo Kanté and Jules Kounde.
“We’ll see for tomorrow (Monday),” Deschamps said of Mbappe’s prospects to feature against the defeated Les Bleus side to win the 2018 World Cup in Moscow.
Number two goalkeeper Mike Maignan will win his third call-up in place of Hugo Lloris, with Presnel Kimpembe taking the captaincy in this Ligue A, Group 1 encounter.