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Bruno Fernandes' brilliance propel Portugal to victory over Slovakia

Photo: Vlad Indrei

 September 8, 2023

In a tightly contested European Qualifier match held at Bratislava's Tehelné Pole Stadium, Portugal extended their remarkable qualifying streak to five consecutive wins with a 1-0 triumph over Slovakia. The lone goal of the game, courtesy of Bruno Fernandes, proved to be the decisive factor in a match that further solidified Portugal's dominance in Group J.

Roberto Martinez's Portuguese side continued their defensive stronghold in the group, maintaining a flawless record of not conceding a single goal. With a remarkable tally of 15 goals scored, they currently sit comfortably at the top, five points clear of their closest competitors who suffered their first defeat of the campaign.

Portugal's talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, made his 201st appearance for the national team at the age of 38. While he famously found the net against Slovakia back in 2005 during a World Cup qualifier, a milestone that added to his astonishing career total of 850 goals, he was unable to replicate that feat on this particular occasion.

The pivotal moment of the match unfolded in the 43rd minute when Bruno Fernandes, displaying his exceptional composure and skill, broke the deadlock. Fernandes unleashed a precision strike from an acute angle, sending the ball into the far corner of the net. It marked his third goal of the qualifying campaign, cementing his status as a key contributor to Portugal's success.

Photo: Vlad Indrei

As the final whistle blew, the Portuguese players celebrated their hard-earned victory, while Slovakia's valiant effort was acknowledged. Portugal's manager, Fernando Santos, emphasized the team's solid defensive performance and praised Fernandes for his match-winning goal. With their fifth consecutive win, Portugal now stands poised to continue their impressive run in the European Qualifiers.

On the other side, Slovakia's coach, grappling with the first defeat in the campaign, remained hopeful and vowed to regroup. The defeat serves as a learning experience for Slovakia, who will undoubtedly seek to bounce back in their pursuit of securing a place in the tournament.

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