UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifiers: Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal | 3 Reasons why the defending champions emerged victorious
Portugal have successfully secured their place at the EURO 2020 finals as they overcame minnows Luxembourg in the ongoing UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying Group B fixture at the Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg.
The 2016 champions weren't at their clinical best tonight and failed to replicate their performances from the six-goal thriller against Lithuania last time around. Fernando Santos' men were sloppy at times and were caught off-guard on multiple occasion by their opponents, whose failure to capitalize might be the only reason why they went home with a clean sheet.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who was the centre of attention in the match, somehow managed to get on the scoresheet in the 86th minute, but as it has been so often of late, Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva was the real MVP of the game.
Apart from the five-time winner's goal, the major talking point from the game has to be the dodgy pitch conditions in tonight's fixture which in all honesty were reminiscent of the infamous fields from the 1960s.
So, with Portugal all set to defend their title next year and Ronaldo moving just one closer to the magical 100-goal mark with his nation, we present the three reasons which facilitated A Seleção's easy win over Luxembourg.
#1 Luxembourg's defence failed to deal with balls directed in and around their 18-yard box
Clearing incoming crosses and lofted balls into the box is probably the most basic and important defending skill. Though the hosts had answers for most of what Portugal's attack threw at them, they struggled to deal especially with long balls.
And it was their inability to keep a check on these passes that eventually lead to their downfall despite a resilient display against a team that is ranked 90 places above them in the FIFA Rankings.
The first goal came against the run of the play when Bruno Fernandes latched onto Bernardo Silva's perfectly-weighted long ball and fired the shot into the bottom right corner. While Ronaldo's goal late in the second half also came from a Silva pass, as he found Diogo Jota inside the 6-yard box whose shot on target was eventually put in by Ronaldo for his 99th international goal in the Portugal shirt.
Though the hosts looked like the better side for the first quarter of the game, their lack of defensive awareness cost them the game.