Portugal's Nations League campaign got off to a promising start, as they beat Italy 1-0 despite Cristiano Ronaldo's absence. -Collected
Portugal rested Cristiano Ronaldo and still overcame new-look Italy 1-0 in their opening Nations League match on Monday, giving visiting coach Roberto Mancini plenty to think about Forward Andre Silva scored three minutes after halftime in the League A Group 3 game to give the Portuguese their first win over Italy in a competitive match since 1957.
Mancini, in only his second competitive match in charge, made nine changes to the team which started Friday's 1-1 draw at home to Poland but his side were on the back foot for most of the match and struggled to create any real danger.
Italy forward Mario Balotelli, widely criticised after his performance against the Poles, did not even make the substitutes bench and watched the match from the stands. Italy, who missed out on this year's World Cup for the first time in 60 years, are without a win in four competitive matches.
"The players gave all they could, but to win you need to score goals so we must find a remedy," said Mancini. "We made mistakes, and we must try to limit them. I didn't enjoy the defeat, but I did like the team's desire to keep trying right until the end, even if they were at risk of conceding a second goal."
Portugal, who agreed to give their record scorer Ronaldo time to adapt following his move to Juventus from Real Madrid, lead the group with three points, ahead of Poland and Italy on one each.
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