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Nations League roundup: Dalot doubles to see off Czechs, Swiss stun Spain

Bruno Fernandes added a second for Portugal
Bruno Fernandes added a second for PortugalAFP
A brace from Diogo Dalot and a goal from Bruno Fernandes helped Portugal to a 4-0 victory against the Czech Republic in the Nations League League A Group Two as Switzerland held on for a shock historic win against Spain, giving them a good chance of survival in the top division.

Czech Republic - Portugal 0-4

Portugal bounced back from defeat to Switzerland with a comfortable 4-0 victory over the Czech Republic, moving them to the top of their UEFA Nations League group.

Despite entering the contest off the back of consecutive defeats, the Czech Republic started the encounter with great intent. Vaclav Jemelka and Patrik Schick both had early sights of goal, but their wayward efforts failed to trouble Diogo Costa.

Although Portugal were dominating possession, they were fortunate not to fall behind just after the half-hour mark when Antonin Barak powered his headed opportunity over the bar. The Fiorentina man was quickly punished for his misguided effort, as the visitors demonstrated their quality to take the lead through an unlikely source.

Rafael Leao’s neat cut-back found Dalot, who was in the right place at the right time to sweep home his first international goal.

An intriguing first half ended with incredible drama, as Portugal doubled their lead through Fernandes, who was the beneficiary of an immaculate low cross from Mario Rui.

However, the hosts looked set to halve the deficit when Cristiano Ronaldo’s handball presented Schick with the chance to level from the spot. With the home support spurring him on, Schick was unable to keep his cool, firing his penalty over Costa’s crossbar.

Still reeling from Schick’s penalty miss, the Czech Republic knew they had to score the first goal after the restart if they were to mount a fightback.

Unfortunately for the hosts, Dalot had other ideas, as he wasted no time in doubling his international tally. The Manchester United full-back superbly chopped the ball onto his left foot before curling a long-range effort beyond the despairing Tomas Vaclik.

Dalot’s brace ended the match as a contest, although Diogo Jota added gloss to the scoreline with a late close-range header.

Following a commanding display, Portugal will quickly turn their attention towards a winner-takes-all clash against Spain on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic will need to beat Switzerland to avoid relegation from League A.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Diogo Dalot (Portugal)

Check out the stats from this game with Flashscore.

Spain - Switzerland 1-2

Spain surrendered the lead of Group Two as Switzerland earned a first victory against the Spanish in 12 years, winning 2-1 at the Estadio La Romareda in Zaragoza. 

Luis Enrique’s men set out to, in usual style, dominate possession and try to pass their way through, but were struggling to create clear-cut chances.

Perhaps the hosts’ most obvious option as an outright centre-forward, Alvaro Morata, was left on the bench, but Spain could’ve actually done with his aerial prowess in their own box as the visitors headed their way into the lead.

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji rose highest from a corner, directing his strike into the ground and bouncing it over Unai Simón, who was powerless to deny him.

The Spaniards’ toothlessness continued up until the break, with change needed in the second half to claw their way back into the game.

It ultimately took the hosts less than 10 minutes after the restart to find a response, as Marco Asensio slid Jordi Alba in before the veteran full-back emphatically struck home the equaliser.

Five of Spain’s previous six wins had been accompanied by a clean sheet, but they looked defensive frail here as another corner put the Swiss almost immediately back in front.

Akanji escaped his marker and flicked on at the near post, with Eric Garcia unable to sort his feet out as the ball bounced off him and into the net while under pressure from Breel Embolo.

Enrique turned to his bench in an attempt to add impetus to his team, but Switzerland were up to the challenge. Villarreal starlet Yeremi Pino came closest to an equaliser, but his tame effort from close-range was tipped away by Yann Sommer.

The Swiss earned just a second win of 2022, scoring more than once in a game for the first time this calendar year.

Defeat for the Czech Republic in the other game in the group lifted Murat Yakin’s men off the bottom of the group, inflicting Spain’s first loss in their last nine games.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Manuel Akanji (Switzerland)

Head to Flashscore for all the stats in this game.

Elsewhere in the Nations League, there were wins for Serbia over Sweden in League B, whilst Scotland beat their Irish Sea rivals, Republic of Ireland 2-1 and Israel saw off Albania by the same scoreline.

For all the scores from tonight's games, head to Flashscore.

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