Men's Team

Mixed emotions for City stars as Portugal reach World Cup last-eight

It was a night of mixed emotions on Tuesday as Portugal reached the World Cup Quarter Finals with victory over Switzerland.

Manuel Akanji scored his first goal in the competition, but it was our Portuguese contingent who were celebrating at full-time as Fernardo Santos’ side recorded a 6-1 victory to advance to the last-eight.

As a result, Akanji's tournament has sadly come to end after playing every minute for Murat Yakin’s team in Qatar.

Portugal will now face Morocco for a place in the semi-finals at the Al Thumana Stadium on Saturday 10 December, with kick-off scheduled for 15:00pm (UK).

The fixture had a City-centric feel to it with Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and our Swiss defender all starting, while Joao Cancelo had to settle for a place on the bench.

Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos was handed his first international start in the meeting, and he capitalised on his opportunity after 15 minutes when he collected the ball inside the box and rocketed it into the top corner from a tight angle.

The 21-year-old was clearly enjoying himself on the world’s biggest stage as he almost doubled their advantage soon after when he controlled a cross-field ball expertly, before firing early into the grateful palms of Yann Sommer.

Veteran defender Pepe then marked his 132nd appearance for Portugal by netting their second in the 33rd minute by rising highest at a corner and powerfully heading home.

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Santos' side went into the break with a commanding lead, and they strengthened their grip on the tie five minutes later when Ramos grabbed his brace by darting to the near post and poking home.

The Benfica ace then turned provider when he drove into space and slid Raphaël Guerreiro into the box before the wingback fired high into the net.

There was small consolation for Akanji when he pulled a goal back in the 58th minute by losing his marker from a corner and passing into an empty net at the back post for his first-ever World Cup goal.

But the small source of joy was short-lived when Ramos scored the first hat-trick of the 2022 edition of the competition, when he beat the offside trap to dink the ball over Sommer from close range.

Cristiano Ronaldo came from the  bench with 10 minutes remaining, and he thought he'd extended the lead further when he drilled home from the edge of the box, before the linesman's delayed offside call ruled his effort out. 

The sixth did eventually come, though, when fellow substitute Rafael Leo calmly cut on to his left foot and curled the ball into the back of the net, his second in Qatar overall.

Victory sees Portugal reach the last-eight of the tournament for the first time since their semi-final appearance in 2006.

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