Tuesday, January 31

Portugal 3-1 Turkey: Yilmaz penalty miss proves costly as hosts progress

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Burak Yilmaz missed a late penalty against Portugal
Burak Yilmaz missed a late penalty against Portugal


Burak Yilmaz’s late penalty miss proved costly as Turkey fell to a 3-1 loss to Portugal in their 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on Thursday.


Otavio scored his second international goal in just his third cap to put Portugal in front, with Diogo Jota doubling their advantage before half-time.


Yilmaz pulled one back for Turkey after the hour mark and had a chance to take the game to extra time by making it 2-2 after referee Daniel Siebert awarded the visitors a penalty for Jose Fonte clipping Enes Unal.


However, Yilmaz’s spot-kick clipped the crossbar on its way over and Matheus Nunes rubbed salt into the wound in stoppage time, ensuring it was Portugal who advanced to the final against North Macedonia, who earned a shock 1-0 triumph over European champions Italy.

Portugal started brightly and took the lead when Otavio scored on the follow-up after Bernardo Silva’s shot was tipped onto the post by Ugurcan Cakir.


Turkey responded positively to going behind but Portugal doubled their advantage before half-time when Jota guided Otavio’s exquisite delivery into the bottom-right corner with a pinpoint header.


Yilmaz pulled one back for Turkey when he stabbed a cool finish past Diogo Costa in the 66th minute after an excellent one-two with Cengiz Under.


The game looked destined to be heading for extra time when the referee pointed to the spot after a trip to the pitchside monitor with five minutes remaining, but Yilmaz was unable to convert.
It proved to be Turkey’s undoing as substitute Matheus put the result beyond doubt when he finished off a pass from Rafael Leao in the 94th minute to send Portugal through.

What does it mean? Ronaldo’s World Cup hopes still alive
Portugal were crowned European champions in 2016 – something that was a trump card in the eternal Cristiano Ronaldo v Lionel Messi debate until the Argentina star lifted the Copa America last year.
The finals in Qatar this year could well be the last chance for them to grace the World Cup.
Success would add to their enviable list of accolades and further enhance either of their claims to being the greatest of all time.
Messi’s place at this year’s World Cup is already secured. Now Ronaldo – who hit the crossbar with the last act of the game – needs just one more win to join him there.
Awesome Otavio
He may have been a surprise pick with William Carvalho on the bench, but Otavio justified his selection with a goal and assist that were crucial to the win. His 20 duels contested were more than anyone else on the pitch and only Hakan Calhanoglu (8) suffered more fouls than his four.
Centre-back concerns
With Ruben Dias out due to a hamstring and Pepe missing after testing positive for coronavirus, Portugal looked vulnerable with Jose Fonte and Danilo Pereira in the centre of defence. They will need to step it up to avoid an upset in their next outing.
What’s next?
Portugal will be back at the Dragao on Tuesday and take on Italy’s conquerors North Macedonia for a place at the World Cup.

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