Spain defeated Portugal 1-0 in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday, September 27. The result meant that the visitors overtook their hosts to qualify for next year's semi-finals.
The visitors arrived in Braga on the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Switzerland in their last game. The result saw them slip down to second place in League A Group 2 with eight points, two behind the hosts.
Spain won two, drew two and lost one of their five games and had the opportunity to seal the top spot with a victory against leaders Portugal. Luis Enrique fielded a strong lineup for the match.
Spain started the game really well and kept the ball for lengthy spells, passing the ball around with confidence and intent. The midfielders looked sharp and adopted a physical approach to take control of the midfield. The visitors kept most of their possession in their opponent's half but failed to penetrate their defensive lines effectively.
Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres were largely isolated in the first period as Portugal did well to keep the gap to a minimum. Spain completed 405 passes in the first period but most of them were between their central defenders and midfielders. They attempted two shots in the first half but both were off the mark.
Despite dominating possession and playing with intensity, Spain were unable to find the breakthrough against a rigid Portugal defense. The teams went into half-time level at 0-0.
Luis Enrique subbed off Hugo Guillamon at the interval after a rather disappointing first half and replaced him with Sergio Busquets. Spain began the second half maintaining greater possession than their opponents and looked more threatening going forward.
The visitors kept 63% of the ball in the second period, attempting eight shots with five on target. Enrique's decision to bring on a group of youngsters into the fray paid dividends as one of them provided an assist for Spain's late winner.
Nico Williams cushioned a smart header across the face of the goal. Alvaro Morata showed his predatory instincts as the latched onto the ball to score. Spain held on to secure a massive 1-0 victory. That said, let's take a look at their player ratings.
Spain Player Ratings
Unai Simon - 8/10
Simon made a mixed start to the game as he made a few good stops but also gave the ball away dangerously on one occasion. He made four saves and kept a clean sheet.
Daniel Carvajal - 7/10
Carvajal made a good start to the game and looked composed in defense. He won eight of his 17 duels and made three tackles, but was booked for a foul. He played one key pass and five accurate long balls.
Hugo Guillamon - 6.5/10
Guillamon was aggressive in his tackles and received a booking in the first half for his third foul. He won one of his two duels and passed the ball with 95% accuracy, including two long balls. He was subbed off at half-time.
Pau Torres - 7/10
Pau Torres looked calm and beat Portugal's intermittent pressing with ease and was able to pass the ball to his teammates. He won two of his eight duels and made three clearances. He also played three accurate long balls.
Jose Luis Gaya - 7.5/10
Gaya looked lively on the left flank and often made overlapping runs forward. He won four of his eight duels, making four interceptions and two tackles. He also played two key passes, one accurate cross and one accurate long ball.
Carlos Soler - 7/10
Soler did well to anchor Spain's midfield alongside Rodri and completed 35 passes with 97% accuracy. He won five of his six duels and made two tackles and one clearance.
Rodri - 8/10
Rodri bossed midfield with his physicality and passing range. He completed 77 passes with 93% accuracy including nine long balls. He also won seven of his nine duels, making three clearances, two interceptions and two tackles.
Koke - 6.5/10
Koke made a positive start to the game and did well to organize the lines. He completed 36 passes with 92% accuracy and played one long ball. Koke also won all three of his duels as Spain controlled midfield.
Ferran Torres - 6.5/10
Torres was effective as he ran at defenders with the ball at his feet. He completed two dribbles and hit the woodwork once. Torres also won six of his 12 duels.
Pablo Sarabia - 6/10
Sarabia was relatively dormant as he struggled to make an impact on proceedings. He failed to play a single cross or a long ball and was unable to win any of his three duels either. Sarabia also lost possession of the ball five times.
Alvaro Morata - 7.5/10
Morata was left isolated for large portions of the game as his teammates were unable to get the ball upfield. However, he had three shots on target in the second half and scored with one of them.
Sergio Busquets - 7/10
Busquets came on at half-time and helped Spain progress the ball with greater effect. He passed the ball with 89% accuracy including one key pass and three long balls. He also won four of his five duels and made two interceptions.
Yeremy Pino - 6.5/10
Pino came on midway through the second period and put in a decent performance.
Gavi - 6.5/10
Gavi came on in the 61st minute and had a good game.
Pedri - 6.5/10
Pedri came off the bench and put in a good shift.
Nico Williams - 7/10
Williams went on to change the complexion of the game for Spain. He attempted two shots on target and provided an assist for his team's winner.