Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Portugal 1-2 Croatia: Modrid and Budimir on target to seal first ever win over Selecao

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Jun 2024

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Ante Budimir’s third international goal ensured Croatia secured a first victory over Portugal as they concluded their Euro 2024 preparations with a win.

The visitors took the lead from the penalty spot inside the opening 10 minutes after Vitinha’s clumsy challenge on Mateo Kovacic saw captain Luka Modric assume responsibility and fire the ball beyond Diogo Costa.

Croatia’s dominance continued for much of the first period, with Lovro Majer forcing Portugal’s goalkeeper into making a smart save as Zlatko Dalic’s side were rarely troubled by an attacking quartet of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Goncalo Ramos.

However, substitute Diogo Jota was on hand to level the scores three minutes after the restart, tapping home Nelson Semedo’s teasing delivery into the area.

Heading into the eighth meeting between the sides, Croatia had managed just one draw from their previous seven encounters with Portugal, but a maiden triumph was theirs when striker Budimir reacted quickest to turn home Mario Pasalic’s shot that had come back off the crossbar.

The introductions of Premier League duo Pedro Neto and Mathues Nunes offered the hosts more attacking pedigree, but they were unable to find a way past Dominik Livakovic as Ruben Dias squandered a golden opportunity late on to share the spoils, with Cristiano Ronaldo remaining an unused substitute.

Data Debrief: Budimir the boy as Kovacic stays perfect

Budimir’s three shots in the encounter produced the highest xG of anyone on the pitch at 1.07, with Portugal’s players combined finishing with an xG of only 1.54.

At the heart of Croatia’s midfield, Kovacic was the only player for either side to record a 100 per cent pass completion, completing all 39 of his attempted passes.

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