Bruno Fernandes’ double enabled a shock win over Macedonia (2-0) and Portugal qualified for the 2022 World Cup, on Tuesday in Porto during the European zone matches.
The 2016 European champion took the lead a little after half an hour with a goal from Bruno Fernandes, sent by Cristiano Ronaldo (32, 1-0). Manchester United’s attacking midfielder made the first half by scoring again in the middle of the second half (65, 2-0).
The Lusitanians will take part in the eighth World Cup finals in their history, the twelfth consecutive major tournament.
Facing the unrestrained Macedonians, the Portuguese were slow to get a first chance.
As is often the case, the ‘CR7’ launched hostilities. The five-time Golden Ball, well served by Otavio, led to a superb cross shot from the left, but circled the right corner of the opposite cage (14th place).
Macedonia responded shortly after with a shot from Ezjan Alewski to the side (20).
Then Diogo Jota thought he opened the scoring from a corner kick, and finished the Liverpool striker’s header just above (24).
Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates, after opening the scoring against North Macedonia, in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers final in Qatar, March 29, 2022 in Porto / AFP.
Then Portugal scored a 100% ‘Made in’ Manchester United goal. Bruno Fernandes intercepted a poor Macedonian pass and relied on Ronaldo to give him the ball in the race, closing the playmaker with a clear shot from close range (1-0, 32).
Apart from a long shot by Joao Cancelo just outside the goal (45+1), Fernando Santos’ men had no further break opportunity before the break.
– Fernandez finally decisive –
An offensive silence that shows the Macedonians’ ability to defend well even when they are in great control of the match, such as the nation’s stunning 67th FIFA Ranking win against Italy (1-0), last week in the semi-finals.
Returning from the locker room, Bruno Fernandes again tried his luck, but his shot outside the penalty area was captured by the goalkeeper of the Balkans, Stoll Dimitrievsky (52nd).
It was just a delay, as the attacking midfielder finished off a superb Portuguese counter-attack with an unstoppable recovery from Diogo Jota’s cross (66, 2-0), to finally seal his country’s World Cup qualification in Qatar (November 21-December). 18).
A beautiful revenge for the 27-year-old, who, unlike the performance of his club, was often uncomfortable with the Portugal shirt.
After this second goal, the Lusitania managed to calmly manage the result, leaving no chance for the Macedonians and reviewing their offensive fleet with the start of Rafael Liao and Joao Felix.
Despite this freshness in attack, they were unable to score a third goal that would have given an air of correction to their victory over the valiant but very limited Macedonia.
The joy of Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo, after a 2-0 win over North Macedonia, in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers final in Qatar, March 29, 2022 in Porto / AFP.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not score in the selection for the fourth meeting in a row, will be able to console himself with the opportunity to enter the very closed circle of players who have gone through the final five stages of the World Cup.