• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Euro 2024: Portugal snatch late win against Czech Republic


Francisco Conceicao scored a dramatic late winner as Portugal fought back from a goal down to defeat the Czech Republic 2-1 in their Euro 2024 opener in Leipzig on Tuesday night.

Despite being one of the tournament favourites, Roberto Martinez’s side had to dig deep to overcome their resilient opponents.

The Czech Republic, who spent much of the match defending, shocked Portugal when Lukas Provod’s long-range strike found the far corner in the second half. Portugal’s equalizer came soon after when Nuno Mendes’ header was parried by goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek, causing the ball to bounce off Czech defender Robin Hranac into his own net.

Diogo Jota had a late goal ruled out for offside, but Conceicao ensured Portugal’s victory in stoppage time. This win was especially memorable as it marked Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s appearance at a record sixth European Championship.

Portugal dominated the game, maintaining possession and keeping the Czech Republic pinned back. However, they struggled to convert their dominance into clear-cut chances, with Czech goalkeeper Stanek making crucial saves, including two notable stops from Ronaldo in the first half.

Portugal, who qualified for the tournament with a perfect record, faced challenging conditions in Leipzig with driving rain complicating the match.
Ronaldo, extending his record with his sixth European Championship appearance, and 41-year-old defender Pepe, now the oldest player in the tournament’s history, both played key roles for the Selecao.

The Czechs took the lead against the run of play through Lukas Provod’s strike from the edge of the box after the hour mark. However, Portugal quickly responded with Hranac’s own goal and then secured the win with Conceicao’s late strike. Portugal midfielder Vitinha, named player of the match, acknowledged the team’s determination and resilience despite failing to fully execute their strategic plan.

Despite the challenges, the Portuguese fans remained in high spirits, chanting Ronaldo’s name and celebrating his iconic “Suuui” shout.

Thousands of fans attended Portugal’s open training session, eager to see the legendary striker.

In the end, the Portuguese side showed their team spirit and tenacity, leaving the Czech Republic to lament their near miss. Czech goalscorer Provod expressed the team’s disappointment, acknowledging the defenders’ efforts and their desire for a bit more luck.

Portugal’s journey in Euro 2024 continues with high expectations, bolstered by their late victory and strong team cohesion.