William Carvalho is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring his third international goal
European and Nations League champions Portugal kick-started their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a hard-fought win over Serbia in Belgrade.
Portugal went ahead through William Carvalho and Goncalo Guedes before Nikola Milenkovic pulled one back.
But further goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva ensured Portugal took home three points despite Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late goal.
Portugal now sit on five points from their three Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Meanwhile, Serbia have taken only four points from their four qualifiers to date.
In what was their first outing since their Nations League triumph over the Netherlands in June, Portugal struggled to get going against a hard-working Serbian side, who more than held their own throughout.
And after an even first half they somewhat fortuitously went ahead when Carvalho poked home after a defensive mishap involving Serbian goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and defenders Nikola Milenkovic and Matija Nastasic following Bruno Fernandes’ deep cross.
Guedes, who scored the only goal in the Nations League final, added their second when he skipped past Nikola Maksimovic and fired into the top corner after some fine, one-touch build-up play from Silva, Ronaldo and Fernandes.
Serbia, who deserved more from the game, halved the defecit through Milenkovic’s header from Dusan Tadic’s corner only for Ronaldo to score for Portugal with a fine dinked finish just minutes later.
Mitrovic looked to have set up a tense finale on 85 minutes when he blasted home after receiving Tadic’s pass but Portugal again struck back almost immediately through Silva’s measured finish from the edge of the box, which sealed their first win of the qualifying campaign.
Serbia, who only introduced Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic with three minutes left, will now look to reignite their qualifying campaign in Luxembourg on Tuesday while Portugal face Lithuania in Vilnius the same night.
As it happened: Serbia 2-4 Portugal
Home TeamSerbiaAway TeamPortugal
Shots on Target
Source: BBC News