Saturday, 24 June 2017

Portugal Crash Out Of U21 Championship

Portugal missed out on the European U21 Championship semi-finals despite beating Macedonia 4-2 in a gritty encounter on Friday evening. Portugal needed to score four and win by at least a three-goal margin to be in with a chance of progressing to the knockout stages as best placed runners-up and early strikes by Edgar Ie and Bruma put Rui Jorge's side firmly in the driving seat.

Enis Bardhi struck back for Macedonia just before half-time before Daniel Podence netted Portugal's third after the break but Macedonia's Kire Markoski added his name to the scoresheet soon after, dealing a crushing blow to Portugal's semi-final hopes. Bruma's stoppage-time goal prompted a late surge to find a fifth, but the final drama proved to be Diogo Jota's sending off for dissent.

Portugal continued to pile on the pressure but, despite spending much of the half in their opponents final third, they failed to convert a host of chances, and a quick break involving Elif Elmas gave Markovski an opportunity to deal a fatal blow. He made no mistake, slotting past Varela to end Portugal's hopes.

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