The Associated PressMADRID (AP) — As Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed his time off at the French Riviera, his Portugal teammates were busy handing Italy another disappointing result in the UEFA Nations League.
Portugal did not need Ronaldo — who skipped international duty to recharge after a busy summer — to beat Italy 1-0 in Europe’s newest soccer competition.
The European champions easily outplayed Italy, which had opened its Nations League campaign with a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Poland in its first competitive match under coach Roberto Mancini.
Andre Silva scored on a counterattack early in the second half to give Portugal the Group 3 win in the top-tier League A. The hosts had several chances to extend their lead at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, while Italy created little and relied mostly on set pieces.
The Nations League gives UEFA’s 55 member countries competitive games and eliminates friendlies. The winners of the League A groups — featuring the highest-ranked countries — go into a final-four competition in June.
Meanwhile, Turkey bounced back from an opening loss to Russia by coming from two goals down to defeat Sweden 3-2 on two late goals by Emre Akbaba.