Portugal U21 team held to unexpected draw in Portimão
Photo: PEDRO PRATAS

Portugal U21 team held to unexpected draw in Portimão

Gonçalo Ramos lone goal not enough to secure win

Portugal’s national under-21 football team faced an unexpected setback in its journey to the 2023 U21 European Championship on Friday (March 25) after drawing 1-1 against Iceland at Portimão municipal stadium.

Portugal U21 team held to unexpected draw in Portimão
Photo: PEDRO PRATAS

The home team were the heavy favourites going into the match but were stunned by a 17th minute goal from the visitors. Rui Jorge’s men were unable to stop Valgeir Fridriksson from dribbling past several defenders and getting the ball to Brynjolfur Willumsson who tapped the ball in after a failed interception from Eduardo Quaresma.

The visitors favoured a more cautious approach after taking the lead and forced Portugal to patiently move the ball to create scoring opportunities.

Portugal U21 team held to unexpected draw in Portimão
Photo: PEDRO PRATAS

The equalising goal came 34 minutes into the first half when Gonçalo Ramos, the Olhão native who has become a frequent starter for Benfica, was able to come away with the ball after some lucky bounces and level the scoreboard.

Home fans expected this to be the turning point for Portugal, but the team was unable to live up to the expectations and struggled to overcome the more physical and intense pressure from Iceland.

Portugal U21 team held to unexpected draw in Portimão
Photo: PEDRO PRATAS

Neither team were able to score again and the match ended in a 1-1 draw which leaves Portugal one point behind Greece in Group 4 of the Qualification Stage, but with one game less played.

Portugal will face Greece in Tripoli on Tuesday (March 29).

By Michael Bruxo

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com