Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes are among the Manchester United players aiming to keep their World Cup dreams alive for Portugal tonight.
Having missed out on an automatic place at the Qatar finals, they are set to take on Turkey in a play-off clash. Defeat tonight (7.45pm), will mark the end for Ronaldo & Co. on the road to Qatar.
Ronaldo and Fernandes will be joined by Diogo Dalot in Porto, while Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva of Manchester City are also expected to be involved. The winners will take on the victors between Italy and North Macedonia.
Having completed a sensational return to United last summer, Ronaldo has scored 18 goals during his second spell. He netted six goals for Portugal in a European qualifying group which also included Serbia and Ireland.
Follow our score updates from Porto and the latest on Ronaldo’s attempts to reach the World Cup below…
What a game!
Stick with us for all the reaction.
Job done tonight. More to come next week.
A nervous night
Manchester United superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes have taken a step closer to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after helping Portugal to a crucial victory over Turkey. Diogo Dalot was also part of the starting line-up during a dramatic 3-1 win at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto.
Having failed to qualify at the group stage, Portugal were drawn against Turkey in the first of two showdowns that are, effectively, a shootout to progress to the 2022 finals. Ronaldo and his international teammates are a step closer, now, after setting up a play-off decider with North Macedonia after their heroic result over Euro 2020 winners Italy.
Read our match report here.
One step closer!
It’s all over and Portugal have booked a date with… North Macedonia next week for a place at the Qatar World Cup.
Incredible late drama Palermo saw Italy concede in injury time to be beaten by the minnows and miss out on a second consecutive World Cup, less than a year after winning the Euros.
95 MIN – PORTUGAL 3-1 TURKEYKEY EVENT
PORTUGAL GOAL! 3-1
Nunes has slotted home and that is game, set and match.
Soon after that strike the full-time whistle sounds in Porto.
92 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-1 TURKEYLiam Wood
Chance for Ronaldo!
You have seen him score them before – but he might have to settle for a goalless evening.
Five minutes were added-on by the referee and we are already more than halfway through.
90 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-1 TURKEYLiam Wood
Into the final stages
Turkey will continue to throw everything they have at Portugal in the final moments. However, their big chance came (and went) and they might not get another. Two minutes to play and whatever the referee adds on.
Mourinho OFF, Nunes ON.
Otavio OFF, Leao ON.
82 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-1 TURKEYKEY EVENT
Penalty for Turkey! Missed by Yilmaz
Absolutely HUGE moment after VAR intervention.
WOW! Turkey were awarded a late, late penalty and Yilmaz has skied it from 12 yards!
Drama and plenty of it…
77 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-1 TURKEYLiam Wood
Chance for Otavio!
So close! A good headed chance for Otavio and it goes wide.
It came against the run of play and a superb delivery from Guerreiro.
Will there be another goal in this one? Demiral picks up a yellow.
70 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-1 TURKEYLiam Wood
VAR check for Turkey penalty
VAR are checking a penalty appeal from Turkey after Yilmaz falls. Not given.
Diogo Jota OFF, Joao Felix ON.
67 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-1 TURKEYKEY EVENT
GOAL TURKEY! 2-1
Yilmaz has handed Turkey a surprise lifeline…
It looked for all the world that Portugal were about to hold firm and safely see out the victory but, with around 23 minutes to play, there is further work for Ronaldo and his teammates to do here.
62 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Turkey will have to stick or twist
At some point Turkey will have to take risks and, perhaps, send on a second frontman.
But in order to do that they must, at all costs, avoid further behind against Ronaldo and co.
57 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Chance for Jota!
Jota might have settled the scores there and then…
Route one from Portugal that time as Costa picks out the in-form Liverpool starlet. However, at distance and with the goalkeeper looming, Jack strikes over the crossbar. That would and, perhaps, ought to have been game, set and match.
55 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
The story so far – Portugal in control
You get the feeling this could be a matter of how many for Portugal if they score early enough.
However, with another high-octane showdown to come, they might choose to see this one out with the advantage they have. There is certainly no need to risk too much at this stage.
H/T – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
‘Look at the power and accuracy’
A few half-time quotes from Don Hutchinson in the Sky Sports commentary box.
I can’t even tell you how good of a header that is. It was a lovely ball in from Otavio, but there is still so much to be done. Look at the power and accuracy from Diogo Jota.
Here come the players and play has been summarized in Porto.
H/T – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYKEY EVENT
Scores from elsewhere in Europe
A snap-shot of how things stand after 45 minutes.
Italy 0-0 North Macedonia
Portugal 2-0 Turkey
Sweden 0-0 Czech Republic
Wales 1-0 Austria
H/T – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
One step closer to the World Cup?
There goes the half-time whistle and Portugal are in the ascendancy.
Stay tuned for further updates from the Estádio do Dragão.
It’s been a successful evening (so far) for captain Ronaldo and his teammates.
42 MIN – PORTUGAL 2-0 TURKEYKEY EVENT
PORTUGAL GOAL! 2-0
Diogo Jota makes it 2-0 and it will be a long way back from here.
You have to say that it was an impressive headed finish.
United trio Diogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes and that man Cristiano Ronaldo are seemingly about to keep their World Cup dream alive. Barring a monumental comeback…
40 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Fonte saves the day for Portugal
Some clearance from Jose Fonte to keep Turkey at bay.
At the other end, a promising counter breaks down when Jack slips at the final moment. Ronaldo, too, comes into play and does likewise on what appears to be a greasy surface. Five to go.
37 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Yellow card (s) to Jota and Celik
It’s taken half an hour but we have our first real flashpoint.
Some handbags and players from both teams are cautioned.
32 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYKEY EVENT
United superstar Ronaldo on the attack
Ronaldo bursts into life and wins an attacking FK for Portugal.
In truth, the captain had little to work with there as the game settles.
He meets the ball and heads wide – but it was offside!
30 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Corner to Turkey
Turkey have come back into this since the opening goal from Otavio.
Costa makes a routine save and the ball is turned behind for a corner.
25 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Focus the key for Portugal victory
Based on the opening 25 minutes, this could be a walk in the park for Portugal if they keep their focus.
Turkey have offered no real threat other than moments presented to them by their opponents. Kutlu nods wide on the counter as Portugal look to break, once again, amid muted appeals for a penalty.
22 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Here comes the noise!
Turn up the volume if you can hear the Portugal noise;
17 MIN – PORTUGAL 1-0 TURKEYKEY EVENT
PORTUGAL GOAL! 1-0
Porto starlet Otavio opens the scoring on his home ground.
It comes from a rebound, too, after Diogo Jota struck the frame.
No more than Portugal deserves.
17 MIN – PORTUGAL 0-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Portugal dominate – the story so far
Beyond a golden chance for Jota, there has been plenty of possession from the home team and it seems only a matter of time before they break the deadlock. Ronaldo might not have sharpened up his shooting boots, yet, but the United superstar has openly been involved in the game.
Still goalless here at the Estádio do Dragão.
12 MIN – PORTUGAL 0-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Chance for Jota!
A superb delivery in from Fernandes and Jota squanders a great chance.
10 MIN – PORTUGAL 0-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
Dalot has started brightly for Portugal
Even in a side that features Ronaldo and Fernandes, the main attacking threat has come from Dalot.
He keeps driving forward at right-back and that looks to be one avenue Portugal appear ready to use.
All three combine as Ronaldo blazes over. He blames the pitch!
7 MIN – PORTUGAL 0-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
A cagey start in Porto
No chances to speak about during the opening exchanges. You would expect this to be cagey, at times, given what is at stake for both nations. Will the attacking line-up chosen by Portugal make the difference?
That’s with several first-choice players missing.
3 MIN – PORTUGAL 0-0 TURKEYLiam Wood
ouch! Celik and Ronaldo clash heads
An early clash of heads sees Celik go off momentarily.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.