Russia 2018: Ronaldo-less Portugal bumped 2-0 by Swiss

Russia 2018: Ronaldo-less Portugal bumped 2-0 by Swiss

Portugal began their World Cup qualification campaign on a poor note after a 2-0 loss to Switzerland despite being crowned Euro 2016 champions.

The World Cup Group B qualification match was played at Sankt Jakob Stadion.

The match saw Switzerland finding the back of the net twice courtesy of Breel Embolo and Admir Mehmedi strikes in the 23rd and 30th minutes respectively.

Two goals in seven first-half minutes through Embolo and Mehmedi saw the hosts gain an unexpected lead.

The Swiss seeing out the result after the restart to claim maximum points.

Portugal enjoyed more of the ball throughout the game, but failed to look threatening in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Renato Sanches.

Switzerland meanwhile look composed throughout – Mehmedi put in a real shift for the hosts.

Embolo alongside him, meanwhile, was tracking back and performed his defensive duties perfectly.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka did see red late on however for a second bookable offence, with both challenges rather clumsy.

But it was too late for Portugal to capitalise on the man advantage.

Problems for Portugal without that man Ronaldo: Nani took the armband tonight, but he failed to fill the boots of Ronaldo.

The former Manchester United winger squandered a golden opportunity when heading against the post in the second half.

Portugal fans would have been wishing Ronaldo was there to leap and head it home, and their talisman’s absence was notable throughout the game.

Sanches too, who has such attacking intent, was missed.

Only Ricardo Quaresma looked threatening when he came on midway through the second half.

MAN OF THE MATCH: ADMIR MEHMEDI (SWITZERLAND)

Switzerland’s forwards were brilliant.

Not only did both Mehmedi and Embolo both get on the scoresheet, but they put in a real shift in defence as well.

Mehmedi edges it for his terrific finish, while the Bayer Leverkusen forward was continuously smart with his play and knew when to slow the ball down.

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Portugal began their World Cup qualification campaign on a poor note after a 2-0 loss to Switzerland despite being crowned Euro 2016 champions.