• Wednesday, 24 July 2024
UEFA EURO 2024: Portugal fight back to salvage a win against Czech Republic

UEFA EURO 2024: Portugal fight back to salvage a win against Czech Republic

Francisco Conceicao scored a late winner as Portugal fought back from a goal down to beat Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 opener in Leipzig.

Roberto Martinez’s side are one of the tournament favourites after winning every game during qualifying, but they left it late to see off their dogged opponents.

The Czech Republic had spent much of the game defending in their own half but stunned Portugal when Lukas Provod's whipped second-half strike flew into the far corner.

But their hopes of victory were dashed soon after as goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek parried Nuno Mendes' header and the ball bounced off Robin Hranac and into the back of his own net.

Diogo Jota had a goal ruled out for offside late on, but Portugal were celebrating in stoppage time when Conceicao struck.

The goal ensured Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo marked his appearance at a record sixth European Championship with a memorable win.

Portugal had been in good form heading into this tournament and optimism among their sizeable following in Leipzig was high that they could add to their 2016 European Championship win.

That confidence looked well placed as they dominated from the outset of this game, keeping the Czech Republic pegged back.

However, they struggled to turn good build-up play into chances and the few they managed were well dealt with by goalkeeper Stanek.

Ronaldo was the focal point of Portugal's attack and, while his contribution in general play was limited, he did have two of his side's best chances in the first half but was denied both times by the Czech keeper.

When he sent a trademark free-kick tamely at Stanek in the second-half before he was ruled offside when Jota turned in his cross late on, it looked like it wasn't going to be his or Portugal's night.

But they showed the sort of determination their fans believe will take them far in Germany to take the three points deep in stoppage time.

In what is proving a growing theme of this tournament, it was another young star who delivered the winning moment as 21-year-old substitute Conceicao slammed home from close range.

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