Switzerland picked up their first win of the Nations League group stages, against Portugal, thanks to the fastest goal in the competition’s history.
Haris Seferovic netted after just 55 seconds to earn the hosts a 1-0 victory over Portugal, who paid the price for resting record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo after an unbeaten start to the competition.
The hosts, coming off the back of three successive defeats, could hardly have made a better start, opening the scoring after just 55 seconds as Seferovic rose highest to head home Silvan Widmer’s dangerous whipped cross from the right.
That scoreline looked like it might be doubled shortly afterwards when a penalty was awarded for a handball by Nuno Mendes, but the decision was overturned with the help of VAR because of a foul in the build-up.
That seemed to give Portugal a lift, and shortly afterwards Danilo Pereira had a terrific header well saved by Jonas Omlin. The visitors then thought they had equalised when Rafael Leao nodded home, only for the strike to be ruled out as Andre Silva was offside earlier in the move.
Fernando Santos’ side were enjoying plenty of possession, but they rarely did anything with it. Silva had a chance of his own in the second half, only to shoot too close to Omlin, as Switzerland defended their 18-yard box resolutely and got men behind the ball.
At the other end, Seferovic dragged wide when sent through one-on-one, before substitute Bernardo Silva had a fizzing effort beaten away.
It looked like only a matter of time before the equaliser came, but Omlin continued to thwart all that came his way, comfortably stopping a Bruno Fernandes free-kick, before making himself big at his near post to block a fierce Goncalo Guedes effort. And then in the final 15 minutes, as Portugal threw caution to the wind, the goalkeeper made another fine stop to palm away Diogo Jota’s header.
TALKING POINT – PORTUGAL LOOK TOOTHLESS WITHOUT RONALDO
Any team would look weaker without Ronaldo, but it is surely no coincidence that with the Manchester United man taken out of the team, Portugal struggled to level against a side who had not kept a clean sheet in five matches.
The visitors had plenty of chances in Geneva, and you cannot help but feel the striker would have at least stretched Omlin a bit more than the saves he in particular made from Pereira and then, in the second-half, Andre Silva, who really should have done better with an effort from close range that he fired straight at the ‘keeper.
Ronaldo netted twice when these two teams met a week ago, a game in which his side were 4-0 victors, and he also scored a hat-trick in the Nations League semi-final of 2019 that Portugal won 3-1. Switzerland would certainly have breathed a sigh of relief when his name was not on the team sheet.
MAN OF THE MATCH – JONAS OMLIN (SWITZERLAND)
The goalkeeper has not had many chances at international level, but he may well have made the shirt his own for the foreseeable future after a faultless display.
The 28-year old picked up just his third cap in Geneva, and he could barely have imagined a busier evening as Portugal laid siege on his goal in the second half, but he thwarted them on every occasion.
The pick of the stops came in the first half, brilliantly palming away Pereira’s point-blank range header. That was pretty much the only chance for the visitors before the break, but after it he was regularly the last line of defence and ensured his country picked up a vital three points.
SWITZERLAND: Omlin 9*; Widmer 6, Akanji 7, Elvedi 8, Rodriguez 6; Freuler 7, Xhaka 7, Sow 6; Shaqiri 6, Seferovic 7, Embolo 6. Subs: Okafor 6, Steffen 6, Zuber 6, Aebischer n/a, Stergiou n/a
PORTUGAL: Patrício 6, Cancelo 7, Pepe 6, Pereira 6, Mendes 7; Fernandes 5, Neves 6, Otavio 6; Leao 6, Silva 7, Vitinha 6. Subs: Guedes 6, Bernardo Silva 6, Jota 6, Nunes n/a, Horta n/a
1’ GOAL – SWITZERLAND 1-0 PORTUGAL (Seferovic). Wow! What a start for the hosts! With just 55 seconds on the clock, Widmer whips in a terrific cross from the right, and Seferovic nods it down into the far corner.
15’ PENALTY OVERTURNED. Shaqiri’s cross into the box hits the arm of Nuno Mendes, and the referee immediately points to the spot, only to consult VAR and overturn the decision because of a foul in the build-up.
18’ GOAL RULED OUT. Leao heads home from the edge of the six-yard box, but Andre Silva, who crossed the ball to him, was offside earlier in the move.
78’ OMLIN SAVES AGAIN. The goalkeeper is having a blinder in just his third international appearance. Jota leaps high at the back post to head goalwards, only for Omlin to palm clear.