LISBON/ PRISTINA: Andre Silva scored the only goal as European champions Portugal — without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo — got their Nations League campaign off the mark with a 1-0 win over Italy in Lisbon on Monday.
Ronaldo, 33, had been left out of the squad at his own request to focus on his new Italian club Juventus.
But the Euro 2016 winners showed no sign of missing their star striker, dominating the Italians to secure their first three points in a Group 3 that also includes Poland.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini suffered his first competitive setback after being held by Poland 1-1 in their opener on Friday in Bologna, with the Azzurri on one point after two games.
“We made too many mistakes, but the lads gave everything,” said Mancini. “We need to find a solution to scoring goals because you don’t win games without scoring. That’s our main problem right now. Portugal have won the first, so they’re the favourite, but I think it’s still wide open, you never know in football.”
Silva scored three minutes into the second half with AC Milan’s on-loan Sevilla striker collecting a Bruma cross to beat his former Milan teammate Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italy goal.
“I have some friends in the Italian national team, but there are no friends on the pitch,” said Silva. “Overall we were the better team on the night and deserved the win.”
Kosovo make history with first win
Goals from Arber Zeneli and Atdhe Nuhiu made football history for UEFA minnows Kosovo on Monday in a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands.
Kosovo is an Albanian-majority former province of Serbia that broke away from the then Yugoslav republic in a bloody war in 1998-1999 and declared independence a decade later.
Serbia refuses to recognise its former province, but Pristina, and not Belgrade, had more reason to celebrate on Monday after contrasting results for their respective teams in the new UEFA Nations League.
As Kosovo claimed their first competitive win since being admitted to international football in 2016, Serbia were held to a 2-2 draw by Romania in Belgrade despite twice leading.