Watch Portugal vs Slovakia full match replay and highlight.
This is a match of UEFA Euro 2024 Qualification, Group J – Matchday 7.
Kick off: 18:45 UTC Friday Oct 13, 2023.
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos, Greece
Venue: Estádio Do Dragão, Porto
Portugal vs Slovakia Full Match Reports
A soaked Estádio do Dragão crowd bore witness to Portugal’s securement of their berth in the Euro 2024 tournament next summer, thanks to an electrifying 3-2 triumph over Slovakia. This result extends the host’s remarkable streak to seven consecutive wins in European Championship qualifying (ECQ).
The return of Cristiano Ronaldo, the record-breaking goalscorer, brought a wealth of firepower to Portugal against their closest rivals in Group J, following their crushing 9-0 victory over Luxembourg in their previous outing. The Seleção immediately applied pressure to Slovakia, but it was the visitors who nearly drew first blood as António Silva deflected a cross perilously close to his own net, forcing Diogo Costa to push the ball onto the woodwork.
Benefiting from that close call, Portugal capitalized on Slovakia’s vulnerability in the 18th minute. Bruno Fernandes, who moments earlier had been thwarted by a brilliant save from Martin Dúbravka, sent an inch-perfect cross onto the head of Gonçalo Ramos, who clinically finished beyond Dúbravka. The Manchester United midfielder came agonizingly close to scoring himself, only to be denied by Dúbravka once more. However, the Slovakian goalkeeper couldn’t stop the hosts from doubling their lead before the half-hour mark, as Ronaldo scored his 124th international goal with a composed penalty following a handball by Denis Vavro in the area.
While Portugal enjoyed the upper hand, Slovakia’s spirited second-half performance called for caution. Portugal missed two clear-cut opportunities to further their lead when Ronaldo and Ramos failed to capitalize. Dávid Hancko’s shot from distance, which took a hefty deflection and nestled into the bottom corner, handed Slovakia their first qualifying goal in seven matches.
Unfazed by conceding their first goal in qualifying, Portugal swiftly regained their two-goal lead three minutes later, as Ronaldo tapped the ball into an empty net from a well-delivered cross by Fernandes. A thrilling conclusion was set up by Stanislav Lobotka’s strike into the corner, but it amounted to no more than a consolation as Portugal held firm to deny Dúbravka and his team a hard-earned share of the spoils.
Slovakia’s first away defeat in this ECQ campaign leaves them in second place, just two points ahead of the dark horse Luxembourg. Nonetheless, their hopes of securing their fourth major tournament appearance in history remain very much alive with three games remaining. Meanwhile, Portugal secures their spot in next summer’s tournament with an impeccable qualification record, remaining unbeaten since their loss to Morocco in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo was named the Man of the Match.