Portugal inched closer to the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar with a 3-1 win over Turkey in the semi-final play-off played at the Estadio do Dragao on Thursday night.
Otavio Edmilson gave the hosts the lead after just 15 minutes, before turning provider for Diogo Jota in the 42nd minute to give them a 2-0 half-time lead.
Burak Yilmaz however halved the scores for the visitors just after the hour mark, and they threatened to force a draw for the remainder of the second half.
The hosts however held on, and Matheus Nunes’ 94th-minute goal all but ensured there was no chance of the Turkish coming back into the match.
Portugal will now face North Macedonia, who stunned Italy, in the finals.
In another match, Wales kept alive their dreams of featuring in the first World Cup in 64 years with a 2-1 win over Austria.
Gareth Bale struck twice for his country, with one a sensation free-kick to open the scores in the first half.
He then scored a second after the break with a dazzling finish, but Marcel Sabitzer’s 65th-minute reply ensured there was always a nervy ending to the game.
They however held on for the win, and will now face the winner between Ukraine and Scotland.
Here are the results from Thursday night;
- Path A: Wales 2-1 Austria
- Path B: Sweden 1-0 Czech Republic (aet)
- Path C: Portugal 3-1 Turkey, Italy 0-1 North Macedonia
The winners of Thursday’s games are through to the play-off finals
Tuesday 29 March
- Path B: Poland vs Sweden
- Path C: Portugal vs North Macedonia
Postponed, date tbc
- Path A: Wales vs Scotland / Ukraine
The 22nd finals in Qatar will be the first World Cup not held in May, June, or July; the tournament is instead scheduled for a reduced time frame between 21 November and 18 December.
The draw will take place on Friday 1 April.