THE BALL – Portugal beats Slovakia and leads the race for the European Championship (U17)

The national under-17 team, coached by Filipe Ramos, won this Wednesday afternoon, at Estádio do Fontelo, in Viseu, its counterpart from Slovakia by 2-0, in the debut of the Portuguese team in Group 5 of qualification of the Elite Round for the Euro 2023, whose final phase will take place in Hungary, from May 17th to June 2nd.

In the first of the three games, Portugal opened the scoring at 6′, by Martim Ferreira, who, at the first post, opportunely, deflected the ball towards the net after a corner taken from the right by the Portuguese attack. At 89′, a beautiful shot by Rodrigo Duarte fixed the final result, which gives Portugal, for now, the leadership of the group, in a game in which the Portuguese goalkeeper, Gonçalo Ribeiro, was almost a mere spectator: Slovakia never even tested him , and the best goalscoring occasions were all Portuguese.

Gil Martins (43′) and Nuno Patrício (78′) could have rested the 450 spectators in the Fontelo stands earlier, but the Slovak goalkeeper, Hudók, with two good interventions, postponed the 2-0.

The under-17 national team takes the field again on Saturday, the 25th of this month, at Estádio João Cardoso, in Tondela, to face Poland (3 pm), a selection that on the same day, and in the other game of this inaugural round of the Group 5 of the Elite Round, won Rep. Czech by 1-0.

Remember that only the winners of each of the eight groups of the Elite Round and the seven best runners-up guarantee direct qualification to be in Hungary, in the final phase of the European category, in May and June, which will have 16 teams: 15 cleared plus host Hungary.

For history, the formation of Portugal on this day: Gonçalo Ribeiro; Martim Fernandes, João Fonseca (Guilherme Gaspar, 83′), Gonçalo Oliveira and Rayhan Momade; João Teixeira (Diogo Lobão, 66′), Martim Ferreira and João Simões; Gonçalo Moreira (Rodrigo Duarte, 75′); Gil Martins (Olívio Tomé, 66′) and Nuno Patrício (Gonçalo Sousa, 83′). Guilherme Ribeiro, Guilherme Gaspar, Tiago Parente, Rodrigo Duarte, Olívio Tomé, Diogo Lobão, Samuel Sousa, Gonçalo Sousa and Veríssimo Antunes were unused substitutes.

Slovakia, coached by Marek Bazik, presented themselves as follows: Húdok; Ragan, Kutka, Lami and Dovicák; Jurista (Petruska, 65′), Henyig (Ziga, 46′) and Fasko (Baláz, 86′); Kósa (Patzak, 65′), Dikos and Korba (Rusnák, 70′). Petrúfka, Baláz, Buvoccan, Patzak, Petruska, Sagan, Rusnak and Ziga were unused substitutes in the Viseu game.

Referee Mervan Bejtullahu, from Kosovo, showed four yellow cards: one for Portugal, to Nuno Patrício (27′), three to the Slovaks – Fasko (32′), Korba (43′) and Henyig (45+2′).

“It was a fair victory, we were superior. We started off on the right foot and we are confident. Slovakia were tough opponents, but we started well and dominated. If the goal had come earlier we would have won by more. But we are motivated to win the two remaining games, with two more difficult opponents», said Gonçalo Sousa, who entered the match at 83′, in the end, quoted by the website of the Portuguese Football Federation.

Portugal and Poland lead Group 5, with 3 points, Poland and Rep. Checa still haven’t scored (zero points).

Saturday, the 25th of this month, in addition to Portugal-Poland in Tondela, Rep. Czech faces Slovakia in Santa Comba Dão (11 hours).

On Tuesday, the 28th of this month, Portugal will face Rep. Checa again in Viseu, at Estádio do Fontelo (15 hours), while Slovakia and Poland face off at the same time at Parque Desportivo Sant’Ana, in Penalva Castelo.

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