Serbia have staged an upset against Portugal, and have earned a direct qualification into the World Cup in Qatar next year. The Serbian side won the match 2-1 through an inspired comeback after going down to a Renato Sanches goal as early as the 2nd minute in the match.
Dusan Tadic scored the equalizer after his powerful shot from the edge of the area was spilt by Rui Patricio in the Portuguese goal, and then went on to set up the late winner. Aleksander Mitrovic was left unmarked at the far post and scored from Tadic’s cross in the 91st minute to earn Serbia a place in the World Cup next year. Portugal will still have a chance to make it into the World Cup, but have to go through a rigorous play-offs round.
Portugal Player Ratings
Rui Patrício- (5.5/10)- The shot-stopper had a horror outing on the pitch, as he let in Dusan Tadic’s shot, which should have been a regulation save for the veteran keeper.
Rúben Dias- (6.5/10)-The Manchester City defender had an excellent outing in defence, both positionally and in possession. He ended up with a pass success rate of 89 per cent, helping Portugal build their attacks from the back.
José Fonte- (7/10) Put into the side, in place of Pepe, the 37-year old had an impeccable night in the heart of defence. He won 2 aerial challenges and made a number of impressive blocks.
Nuno Mendes-(6.5/10)-Mendes was not his usual self, down the left flank as he did not get many opportunities to contribute in attack. However, he did a good job defensively showing his pace against the wingbacks.
João Cancelo-(6.5/10)- The right-back was under pressure throughout the match, after having earned an early yellow card in the 9th minute for a foul on Pavlovic.
Danilo Pereira-(7/10)- Danilo Pereira’s presence in defending set-pieces was crucial for the home side. He won 5 aerial challenges and did a decent job of controlling the pace of the match for his side.
João Moutinho-(6.5/10)- The veteran midfielder was crisp with his passing, and stopped a number of counterattacks from prospering. However, he eventually earned a yellow card for a cynical challenge to stop a counter in the second half.
Renato Sanches- (7.5/10)- Sanches was full of running, covering masses of ground in midfield and contributed greatly in attack. He scored the first goal for Portugal, scoring expertly with a powerful shot.
Cristiano Ronaldo- (6/10)- Not a night for the great man, as he did not have a great impact on the game. he only had one shot on target and failed to provide his killer instincts.
Diogo Jota- (6.5/10)- Jota linked up well with Bernardo Silva in attack, however, his decision making as not the best at times and a number of chances went begging for his side.
Bernardo Silva- (7.5/10)- The Manchester City star put on a spectacle whenever the ball was at his feet, pulling out some sleek skills moves to wow the crowd. He also provided the assist for the first goal, which came because of his sheer will to win the ball.
Joao Palninha- (6/10)- Palninha looked decent in the time he spent on the pitch, after coming on to replace Joao Moutinho at the 64th-minute mark. He
Ruben neves- NA
Joao Felix- NA
Bruno Fernandes- 6/10
Andre Silva- NA
Serbia Player Ratings
Predrag Rajkovic- The goalkeeper did not look commanding under the sticks, and almost conceded a goal spilling an easy cross. However, his blushes were saved as Portugal failed to take advantage of the error.
Nikola Milenkovic- (6.5/10)- The defender was instrumental in stopping a number of moves down the left flank, wherein he did not allow Jota to get on the ball. However, an error in judgement saw him pick up a yellow card for a foul on Diogo Jota.
Strahinja Pavlovic- (7/10)- The defender earned himself a silly yellow card after he lunged in on Palninha down the flanks. However, he put in a good shift overall.
Milos Veljkovic- (6.5/10)- The defender was good in defending one on one situations against the likes of Jota and Ronaldo, but had to exit the pitch early after injuring himself during a tackle.
Sasa Lukic- Lukic got the assist for the first goal, scored by Tadic making a great pass for the striker to take on the speculative shot from outside the box. He finished the match with a pass percentage of 89.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic-(7/10)- Milinkovic Savic was the main engine for Serbia on the night and gave everything out on the pitch. The midfielder made himself present in attack as well as defence to cap off an excellent night for Serbia.
Nemanja Gudelj- (5/10)- The midfielder did not have a great night, as he was the one who made the error that led to the first goal. He also earned himself a yellow card early on for a poor challenge on Diogo Jota.
Filip Kostic- (6.5/10)- Kostic made a nuisance of himself down the left flank for Serbia. he found in space behind Cancelo far too often. His crosses need improvement but apart from that, he did a decent job.
Andrija Zivkovic-(6.5/10)- The wing-back spent the majority of the match inside the Portuguese half and dug in a few good crosses down the left flank.
Dusan Vlahovic- (7/10)- The striker found excellent support in attack as he linked up nicely with Tadic and Milinkovic Savic. He came very close to scoring for Serbia after his shot struck the post early in the first half.
Dusan Tadic-(7.5/10)- Tadic scored the all-important equaliser for Serbia, scoring from a speculative effort from a distance that was spilt by Patricio. He also provided the cross for Mitrovic’s late winner from a corner.
Mitrovic- The halftime substitute scored the all-important goal for Serbia. His header at the back post was perfectly met in the 91st minute to send Serbia into the World Cup in Qatar.
Luka Jovic- NA