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Portugal cruise past Czechs as Dalot bags brace

Defender Diogo Dalot scored twice as Portugal eased past the Czech Republic 4-0 in Prague on Saturday to get within a point of reaching the UEFA Nations League play-offs.

Portugal, who won the first edition of the Nations League in 2019, lead Group 2 on 10 points, two ahead of Spain who were stunned by Switzerland 2-1 at home on Saturday.

Portugal host Spain next Tuesday in their final group game.

Dalot opened the scoring on 33 minutes as he nutmegged Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik from a cutback provided by Rafael Leao.

Dalot sprinted down the pitch, passed the ball to his right and dashed into the box to pick up Leao’s pass from the left following a cross narrowly missed by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bruno Fernandes made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time as Mario Rui found him facing Vaclik with a low cross from the left.

A minute later, the hosts squandered a penalty kick as Patrik Schick fired over the crossbar after VAR spotted Ronaldo handling the ball inside the box.

Dalot added a second as he stunned Vaclik with a low left-foot shot from outside the area on 52 minutes.

Second-half substitute Diogo Jota headed home a late fourth from close range following a corner and Ronaldo’s glancing header that found him at the far post.

Ronaldo failed to improve his record tally of 117 international goals and was left with a bloodied face after a clash with Vaclik early in the game.

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