Portugal effortlessly thrashed the Czech Republic 4-0 in a match that left Cristiano Ronaldo bloodied after a heavy collision with Czech Republic’s goalkeeper, Tomas Vaclik on Saturday, September 24.
Cristiano Ronaldo did not get on the scoresheet in the victory and even gave away a first-half penalty to the Czech Republic which Patrik Schick missed.
However, Ronaldo’s United teammate Diogo Dalot netted a brace while Bruno Fernandes also blasted a shot home before Liverpool’s Diogo Jota finished the rout, thanks to Ronaldo’s cross.
The victory against Czech Republic in Prague on Saturday has moved Portugal to first place in their Nations League group ahead of the final matchday.
The ball rolled nicely in Fortuna Arena as Czech Republic enjoyed a good spell of possession ending with a shot from Jemelka that was well off target in the fourth minute inside the first half.
Meanwhile, both teams got great chances in the 6th minute to score as Schick had half a chance, he got the ball in the box and shoots but it went off target.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the 37-year-old United forward started the game but was given a bloody nose just 13 minutes into the contest when he collided with the home goalkeeper.
A high-looping ball was played into the Czech box and Ronaldo and Vaclik collided violently as both vied for the ball.
Ronaldo appeared to win the ball but he came from an offside position, rendering any question of a penalty moot.
The pair ran into each other and Vaclik’s arms thudded into Ronaldo’s nose.
The hit from Vaclik to Cristiano Ronaldo pic.twitter.com/nsXtxs2qvX— Mohammed (@ZAJD01) September 24, 2022
The play was stopped for a little while as Portugal’s physios managed to curb the flow of blood after the vicious incident but Ronaldo later returned to the pitch in the 17th minute with a bandage on his nose.
Ronaldo’s return to the pitch after the serious nose ravage melted the hearts of spectators who glamorously applauded the five-time Ballon d’Or holder, for his devotion and the zeal he has for his country and football.
Ronaldo had a great opportunity to score in the 24th minute but scuffed it. Leao fiddled a great ball forward to Fernandes, who crosses it for Ronaldo.
Ronaldo opened up his body to slot the ball toward the goal but completely scuffed his shot wide.
Portuguese’s strives later paid off as Diego Jota made it 1-0. The cross by Bruno Fernandes from Portugal successfully finds Rafael Leao who brilliantly creates the scoring opportunity for Diogo Dalot who scored with his left foot.
Czech Republic’s squad tried to recover from their pressure and give themselves an equalizer via a good effort by Alex Kral in the 35th minute as he directed a shot on target, but the Portuguese keeper saved it.
However, the Portuguese demised Silhavy’s team equalizer dream as Ronaldo’s United teammate Bruno Fernandez hit the ball straight inside Czech’s net with his right foot in the wee minute to the end of the first half after receiving a brilliant cross from Mario Rui.
Czech Republic had a golden opportunity to cut their deficit to one goal in first-half injury time as they were awarded a penalty after a VAR check confirmed Ronaldo’s arm touched the ball inside Portugal’s box.
Patrik Schick takes the penalty for his side with the hope to make it 2-1 but he missed as he hit the crossbar and the referee blew the whistle to end the first half.
Thereafter, Portugal added two more goals in the second half to seal their glamorous victory over Czech Republic.
The third goal for Portugal came as Diogo Dalot scored again by beating the Czech’s keeper from outside the box with his left foot in the 52nd minute.
The fourth goal arrived for the Portuguese as Jota Diogo heads Ronaldo’s cross from close range into the net.
Portugal earned a corner, and after Cristiano Ronaldo flicked the ball on from the near post, Diogo Jota had the easiest of tap-ins to end his goal drought; Diogo Jota hadn’t scored for his club nor country since April.
The joy from the four goals netted flattered the Portuguese as all attempts made by the Czech’s team to erase their zero before the stoppage time were thwarted.
Meanwhile, the defeat marks the first loss on home soil for the Czech Republic in over two years after ending an eleven-game unbeaten run over that time.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s poor Stats
Cristiano Ronaldo struggled in a game in which he would usually have thrived following the numbers of opportunities opened to him against Czech Republic on Saturday.
The argument has often been that while the 37-year-old’s movement may be in decline, his shooting touch would remain with his age.
In some quarters, his inconsistent service with Manchester United was identified as part of the rationale behind the Red Devils’ struggles this season. Ronaldo has started just three matches for United this season, two of which came due to injuries to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
The 37-year-old Portuguese football legend has only one goal to his name for United this season. He managed to open his account via a penalty shoot in the recent 2-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.
Whereas, Ronaldo’s awful form became vivid in the nations league match against the Czech Republic on Saturday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner repeatedly received fine passes in dangerous positions that could have produced at least a goal but only to get his technique wrong.
Ronaldo wasted two would-be assists in the first half, including scuffed shots, an attempted volley off his shin that got him bruised in the 13th minute of the first half, and lots of hitting the turf in frustration.
Ronaldo’s rate dropped after the 37-year-old, instead of earning a penalty for his team as the brilliant striker he used to be, he did otherwise concede one against Portugal via a handball.
With the likes of Bruno Fernandez and Diogo Jota being rated 8/0 each, Mario Rui and Rafael Leao graded 7/10 and other Portuguese players rated 6/10, Cristiano Ronaldo got the lowest rate as Goal, a news outlet, rated the five-time Ballon d’Or winner 5/10 in Saturday’s match.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo would have been rated below five but his late-headed assist to Jota – which according to Goal “in all sincerity, he may not have meant” kept his grade from being worse rating.
Portugal now sit at the top of the group table above Spain with 10 points. Their next match is against Spain at Estadio Municipal de Braga on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
Speaking after Saturday’s victory, Portugal manager Fernando Santos expressed his optimism about his team’s outlook for the rest of the year.
Santos said: “The best is yet to come and it is this year. That’s the confidence.”
Portugal’s national team will face Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar, which starts in November 2022.