Portugal 1 Azerbaijan 0
Portugal produced a rusty display in their opening World Cup Group A qualifier against Azerbaijan on Wednesday but still made a winning start with a 1-0 victory in a home game played in Turin.
Maksim Medvedev fumbled the ball into his own net after a mix-up with goalkeeper Shahrudin Mahammadaliyev to break the deadlock in the 37th minute of a game moved to Juventus’ stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel to Portugal.
Portugal dominated possession but could not break down Azerbaijan again despite having 29 attempts on goal, 14 of which hit the target.
All-time scorer Cristiano Ronaldo had eight attempts on goal but had a frustrating evening at his home stadium for the second time in four days after Juventus’ shock 1-0 defeat by Serie A strugglers Benevento on Sunday.
Ronaldo went closest with a late free kick which was tipped away by goalkeeper Mahammadaliyev, who was kept busy all evening and repelled second-half efforts from substitutes Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix.
Portugal visit Serbia on Saturday in their next Group A game while Azerbaijan face World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar in a friendly before hosting Serbia in their second qualifier.
Turkey 4 Netherlands 2
Veteran captain Burak Yilmaz netted a hat-trick as Turkey saw off a late rally from the Netherlands to secure a 4-2 home victory on Wednesday at the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Yilmaz opened the scoring in the 14th minute of the Group G match with a deflected shot followed by a penalty 20 minutes later at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium to put the Turks 2-0 up at half-time.
The game looked to be effectively over when Hakan Calhanoglu added the third a few seconds into the second half but two goals in as many minutes from Davy Klaassen and Luuk de Jong gave the Dutch hope of a late comeback.
Their momentum was ended , however, by a stunning free-kick from Yilmaz that completed his hat-trick and secured the points for Turkey.