Portugal beat Serbia, as France cruise against Albania - Soccer Times

Portugal beat Serbia, as France cruise against Albania


The latest round of qualifying for Euro 2020 took place on Saturday, with big victories for the likes of Portugal, France and England. Here is what happened in those potentially crucial clashes:

European champions pick up first qualifying win Serbia

European champions Portugal picked up their qualifying win of the campaign, recording a 4-2 victory in Serbia.

Portugal took the lead against the run of play just before the break. Serbia goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic collided with a teammate when attempting to catch a cross allowing Portugal midfielder Willian Carvalho a tap-in.

The visitors doubled their lead on 58 minutes, as Goncalo Guedes cut in from the left-wing and fired home past Dmitrovic. Serbia looked to be back in the game on 68 minutes when Nikola Milenkovic headed home from a corner kick.

However, Portugal scored a third on 80 minutes, as Cristiano Ronaldo latched onto a Bernardo Silva before slotting past Dmitrovic. Serbia would not lie down, though, as Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic powered home a second goal for the home team.

Any hopes of a dramatically come back were quickly squeezed, as Manchester City attacking midfielder Silva took advantage of the space left behind by the home team to add a fourth goal just a minute later.

Portugal had drawn their opening two qualifiers, so it must have been a relief to pick up their first win of the campaign. The European champions are now second in the group, eight points behind Ukraine, although the group leaders have played two more games. Despite the defeat, Serbia are only one point behind Portugal in the race for qualification.

France hammer Albania in Paris

World champions France recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Albania in Paris. The kick-off was delayed due to the stadium announcing mistakenly playing the Andorra national anthem instead of the visitors. However, the delay did little to distract Les Bleus.

France took just eight minutes to take the lead in this clash. Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman latched on to a superb through ball from Raphael Varane and made no mistake. Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud got in on the goalscoring act on 27 minutes, finishing from a low Lucas Hernandez cross.

Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann smashed a penalty against the bar on 35 minutes. However, the result never seemed in doubt and Coman doubled his tally on 68 minutes, after seizing on a loose ball.

Highly-rated young forward Jonathan Ikone of Lille made it four for France. It was a moment to remember for the 21-year-old, who was making his international debut from the substitutes bench.

Albania scored a consolation goal in the last minute of normal time. Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris brought Taulant Xhaka down in the penalty area and substitute Sokol Cikalleshi dispatched the penalty kick.

The victory means that France remains top of the group and are one of the favourites to win Euro 2020. However, Les Bleus are only ahead of both Turkey and Iceland on goal difference.

Saturday’s other Euro 2020 qualifying results

Kosovo 2-1 Czech Republic

England 4-0 Bulgaria

Lithuania 0-3 Ukraine

Iceland 3-0 Moldova

Turkey 1-0 Andorra

Who produced the biggest result of Saturday in qualifying for Euro 2020?

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