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Sweden 0-2 Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo's centurion goal & other talking points | UEFA Nations League 2020-21

Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Modified 09 Sep 2020, 04:45 IST
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Anthony Lopes, the new Portugal No.1?

Lopes is fast becoming a threat to Patricio
Lopes is fast becoming a threat to Patricio's place as Portugal's No.1

For the second game in a row, Fernando Santos opted to go with Anthony Lopes in goal over the usual first-choice Rui Patricio, which begs the question - is the Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper the new No.1 for Portugal?

While his counterpart had an excellent 2019-20 season with Wolves in the Premier League and continues to go strong, even at 32, Lopes has shown over the course of last two games that he isn't any pushover either.

Tonight, the custodian had little to do but was on his toes throughout. He was quick to rush out of his line and punch the ball clear during set-pieces, while also collecting the ball into his embrace on occasions when a long ball was played.

Patricio will of course return to the line up eventually, but Lopes' growing importance to the side means his position is definitely under threat.

Svensson sinks Sweden

Svensson was sent off even before the half-time whistle
Svensson was sent off even before the half-time whistle

The Swedes have been below-par in the Nations League so far; not only have they lost both games, but also failed to create any meaningful chances.

The lack of urgency and creative spark was once again on show in this match, but what made it all the more worse than the previous game was Gustav Svensson's red card.

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The 33-year old was back in the mix as Janne Andersson rang in the changes after the loss to France last week, but didn't even last the whole first-half.

Constantly out of place and lacking in composure, the Seattle Sounders midfielder made two clumsy challenges that saw him sent off in the 43rd minute.

Sweden's influence was already waning after a bright start, but the numerical disadvantage thereafter compounded the home side's misery.

Portugal are favourites for the title again

Can the Seleccao go all the way again?
Can the Seleccao go all the way again?

The defending champions are off to a flyer in the second edition of the UEFA Nations League. After thrashing Croatia in the opener last week, Portugal racked up another win tonight to make it two from two games and assume pole position in the group.

Sure, the red card early on did benefit them, but the Seleccao is quickly making its mark in the competition and France, whom they still have to play home and away next month, must beware that this juggernaut isn't stopping so easily.

With Ronaldo banging in the goals for Portugal like always while stars like Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Pepe in the ranks, this Portugal side look like strong contenders for the title again.

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Published 09 Sep 2020, 04:45 IST
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