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Soccer Fernandez leads Portugal to World Cup round of 16 twice – SABC News


Bruno Fernandes’ second-half strike put Portugal into the last 16 of the World Cup on Monday to join France and Brazil after a 2-0 win over lackluster Uruguay.

Fernandez scored with a cross intended for Cristiano Ronaldo that accidentally flew into the net in the 54th minute and converted the spot-kick in stoppage time to send his side into the knockout stages with a match remaining.

Portugal had the lion’s share of possession and dominated much of the Group H match, but struggled to create clear-cut chances until a second half in which Uruguay looked tired and out of sorts.

It was the third time at the World Cup that Portugal had won two consecutive group stage matches, with the previous two times resulting in a streak of semi-final appearances.

Ronaldo set the tone for the match with an early display when he used his shoulder to deflect a long-range shot into the path of William Carvalho, whose powerful volley flew over the bar.

Portugal looked threatening up close but struggled to create chances, with Bernardo Silva, Fernandez and Joao Felix disappointing in front of goal early on.

But it was Uruguay who had the best chance of the half in the 32nd minute when Rodrigo Bentancourt picked up the ball and raced up the middle of the field, past three defenders before firing a low shot that was blocked by the oncoming keeper Diego Costa.

Bentancourt was at the center of the action again minutes later when his outstretched foot met Mathias Oliveri’s cross from the left, trickling down to Darwin Nunes, who failed to convert from close range.

Portugal fought hard for a goal and Felix went close in the 52nd minute when he fired low into the side netting.

They finally broke the deadlock two minutes later when Fernandez’s cross flew past Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rashe, who was on the spot when Cristiano Ronaldo rose to head the ball in and initially celebrated the goal as his own.

Uruguay had a brief rally to try and get back into the match after a series of substitutions, with Facunda Pellistri making an instant impact, Luis Suarez going close and Maxi Gomez hitting the post.

But the match belonged to Portugal and Fernandez, who calmly converted the penalty in stoppage time after a handball in the penalty area that required a VAR review.

Eager for more, Fernandez almost made it a stoppage-time hat-trick, his effort deflected off Roche at the near post, before he fired over the bar in the dying moments.

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