Switzerland Top Group After Beating Portugal
2018 World Cup Qualifier
Result: Switzerland 2-0 Portugal
Date: 6 September 2016
Venue: St. Jakob-Park
Switzerland pulled off an impressive 2-0 win over Portugal in their 2018 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night to take an early lead in Group B.
The Swiss were fortunate in the early stages of the clash not to give away a penalty as the ball seemed to strike Johan Djourou on the hand in his own box after an attempted clearance.
Despite the early blunder, it was Switzerland who took the lead in the 23rd minute. A free kick from Ricardo Rodriguez resulted in Rui Patricio palming the ball only as far as Breel-Donald Embolo who headed into the empty net.
The lead was doubled only seven minutes later. Admir Mehmedi initiated the counter attack by playing a through-ball for Haris Seferovic who sent it back to the winger to curl into the top corner for a 2-0 advantage.
Portugal were agonisingly close to pulling one back just before the break. Nani and Raphael Guerreiro linked up, allowing the latter to strike, only to see the effort deflected inches wide.
The travelers came close again in the 51st minute. Bernardo Silva collected Adrien Silva's pass and drilled a shot towards the top corner, but it went just over the woodwork.
The home team should have been three goals up in the 70th minute when Mehmedi set up Blerim Dzemaili to shoot from close range, but he skewed the effort wide.
Nani hit the post in the last 10 minutes as Portugal tried to get back into the game, but they were unable to close the gap and slumped to defeat.
Granit Xhaka saw a second yellow in stoppage time, reducing Switzerland to 10 men for the last few seconds of the game.