Burak Yilmaz’s late penalty miss proved costly as Turkey fell to a 3-1 loss to Portugal in their 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on Thursday.
Otavio scored his second international goal in just his third cap to put Portugal in front, with Diogo Jota doubling their advantage before half-time.
Yilmaz pulled one back for Turkey after the hour mark and had a chance to take the game to extra time by making it 2-2 after referee Daniel Siebert awarded the visitors a penalty for Jose Fonte clipping Enes Unal.
Portugal started brightly and took the lead when Otavio scored on the follow-up after Bernardo Silva’s shot was tipped onto the post by Ugurcan Cakir.
What does it mean? Ronaldo’s World Cup hopes are still alive.
Portugal won European champions in 2016 – something that was a trump card in the eternal Cristiano Ronaldo v Lionel Messi debate until the Argentina star lifted the Copa America last year.
The finals in Qatar this year could well be the last chance for them to grace the World Cup.
Success would add to their enviable list of accolades and further enhance either of their claims to being the greatest of all time.
Now Ronaldo – who hit the crossbar with the last act of the game – needs just one more win to join him there.
Otavio justified his selection with a goal and assisted crucial to the win.
His 20 duels contested were more than anyone else on the pitch.
And only Hakan Calhanoglu (8) suffered more fouls than his four.
Ruben Dias is out due to a hamstring, and Pepe is missing after testing positive for coronavirus.
Portugal looked vulnerable, with Jose Fonte and Danilo Pereira in the defence centre.
They will need to step it up to avoid an upset in their next outing.
Portugal will be back on Tuesday and take on North Macedonia for a place at the World Cup.
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