No Cristiano Ronaldo, no problem for Portugal as they swept aside Sweden in their Nations League encounter on Wednesday night.
With their captain absent, due to his positive coronavirus test, Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota stepped up in Ronaldo’s place by scoring their goals in a 3-0 win.
Silva opened the scoring on 21 minutes thanks to a Jota assist before the latter scored 23 minutes later. Jota then grabbed his second of the match on 72 minutes with another timely finish.
Ronaldo went back to Italy earlier on Wednesday to finish his isolation period after testing positive for Covid-19 on Monday – but cheers on his team-mates from home. The Juventus forward was said to be asymptomatic.
He had played in the national team’s 0-0 draw at France on Sunday. However, in his absence, Jota came into the starting line-up.
Some 5,000 fans were allowed to watch the match at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon. Nearly 2,500 had been in the stadium for the team’s 0-0 friendly against Spain last week as authorities try to evaluate whether to allow fans back in local soccer competitions.
The victory left defending Nations League champion Portugal at the top of Group 3 with 10 points. France, which won 2-1 at Croatia in the other group match, also reached 10 points, but it has a worse goal difference than Portugal. Croatia stayed in third place with three points, while Sweden has zero points.
In the next round of matches in November, Portugal visits France and Croatia plays at Sweden.