UEFA nations league 2018,19: What we learned from Portugal's win over Poland
The European Champions faced Poland in their second match of the UEFA Nations League with a chance to top Group 3. Portugal clinched a 3-2 victory in the game without their skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, who had not been picked in the squad for this match.
Goals from Andre Silva and Bernardo Silva and an own goal from Kamil Glik saw them clinch the three points to climb to the summit of the table.
Here are five major things we learned from the game –
#1 Piatek, the next Lewandowski?
While the pre-match news was all about Poland's top scorer, Robert Lewandowski, featuring in his 100th game for the country, it was the in-form Serie A striker Krzysztof Piatek who stole the show, Piatek, who is also the leading goal-scorer in the Italian league right now, scored his first goal for Poland on Thursday.
He netted opener and continued to look dangerous as Lewandowski was locked away and not given any chance to mark his landmark cap with a strike of his own.
#2 No Ronaldo – no problem!
With Ronaldo not in the team, there was additional scrutiny on the rest of the Portuguese players, to see if they could live up to the task without his presence on the field.
Their attack dispelled all the worries, though, and sealed the win with a commanding offensive performance. Fernando Santos will be a relaxed man after the ruthless display from his front three.
#3 Ruben Neves sensational ability
A long-pass that Ruben Neves made for Rafa Silva was nothing short stunning. It simply took the Polish midfield and defence out of the equation and all Silva had to do was keep his cool to finish the chance, even though it finally came off as an own goal Glik.
Wolverhampton Wolves will have a tough time keeping hold of their star midfielder next summer if he keeps performing like this.
#4 A Balanced Portugal
Portugal seemed a balanced side against Poland.
With the gameplan not revolving on one player,(Ronaldo).=, the Selecao were able to unleash Joao Cancelo on the left flank. With midfield general William Carvalho dominating the centre of the park with Neves, Silva was given the freedom to go for his chances.
He did not let the opportunity slip by, as he pocketed Portugal's third goal with a fine solo finish. With most of their squad players being relatively younger, the European champions have a clear scope of improvement. It is an good news for their defence of the Euro Cup, which is set to begin two years from today.
#5 Worry for Poland
Other than the two goals, there were not too many positives for Poland from this match.
While the scoreline may seem the match was a close contest, Portugal outplayed them in every department. The margin could have much larger had the Portuguese finishing been better on the day.
Poland has a lot of rebuilding to do before their next match against Italy after this dismal performance.