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Portuguese national team now has little or nothing to worry about after securing a spot in the decisive World Cup qualifying play-off final against North Macedonia next week after beating Turkey 3-1 in Porto on
Thursday, a match where Turkey forward Burak Yilmaz missed a crucial late penalty for the visitors.
The home side were in the fore front at the Estadio do Dragao thanks to first-half goals by Brazilian-born midfielder Otavio and
Liverpool in form forward Diogo Jota.
But Turkey’s veteran skipper Yilmaz pulled a goal back in the 65th minute, reviving the hope of the Turkish side setting up a tense finish.
Turkey were given hope at last when they were awarded a late penalty when a foul on Enes Unal was detected by the German referee following a VAR review, but Yilmaz put the spot-kick over the bar only for Matheus Nunes secured Portugal’s victory in stoppage time.
The 36-year-old Yilmaz may now never get the chance to play at a World Cup finals again just as he as earlier mentioned as Turkey’s wait to return to the finals goes on.
Their last appearance at the World Cup was in 2002 of which the came third in Japan and South Korea in 2002.
Portugal on the other hand have not missed out on the world cup tournament since 1998 and they also have the chance to continue such streak as they will now expect to secure a spot in Qatar when they host North Macedonia in a play-off decider next Tuesday.
At 37, Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream of World Cup glory isn’t dying anytime soon and still remains intact and alive as only a few sides in international football can match the
attacking threat of Fernando Santos’s team.
Here Santos made a twist to his starting eleven left Joao Felix on the bench and handed a surprise start to Porto Brazilian born winger Otavio.
The 2016 European champions started on a very strong note and went ahead
on the quarter-hour mark as a Bernardo Silva shot hit the post and Otavio, winning just his third cap, netted the rebound.
The second goal came in three minutes before the interval at the end of a melodious move, as Otavio clipped a cross from the
edge of the box for Jota to put it in at the back post.
The dominance from Portugal continued in the second half of the game not until Turkey pulled one back in the 65th minute after Cengiz Under slipped a pass in for Lille forward Yilmaz to score.
The afterwards didn’t remain the same for the home side who were missing their first-choice centre-back pairing of Pepe and Ruben Dias due to Covid-19 and injury respectively, began to look shaky and Turkey took advantage.
Jose Fonte’s contact with Unal in the box was initially missed by referee Daniel Siebert who was taking charge of the game but he was awarded a penalty after VAR interceded reviewing the images, despite the Turkey player clearly exaggerating the impact of the challenge taking advantage of the situation.