No Cristiano Ronaldo, no problem.
European champion Portugal sparkled on Thursday despite the absence of its star forward, defeating Poland to move a step closer to the last four of the UEFA Nations League.
With young Sevilla striker Andre Silva scoring again, Portugal won 3-2 in Chorzow to take control of Group 3 of the top-tier League A in Europe’s newest competition.
Portugal now has six points from two games, five points ahead of Poland and Italy. Only the group winner advances to June’s last four.
It was the team’s third straight game without Ronaldo, who hasn’t played an international match since his transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus in the summer.
Ronaldo has also been the recent subject of rape allegations. The 33-year-old forward denies any wrongdoing.
Genoa striker Krzysztof Piatek, 23, Serie A’s leading scorer, gave Poland an 18th-minute lead with his first international goal.
Portugal then equalized with a close-range effort from Silva after a poor back pass from Pizzi Fernandes in the 32nd. It was his seventh goal in Portugal’s last six competitive away games.
The visitors made it 2-1 just before halftime with an own goal from defender Kamil Glik.
Bernardo Silva added the third goal with a long-range shot in the 52nd minute before Jakub Blaszczykowski marked his record 103rd cap for Poland by pulling one back with a low volley in the 77th.
Blaszczykowski has now eclipsed Michal Zewlakow on the all-time list of Poland appearances.
Robert Lewandowski made his 100th appearance but was unable to add to his tally of 55 Poland goals.
Poland will host Italy in the Nations League on Sunday, while Portugal plays a friendly in Scotland the same day.
Source: The Associated Press