Portugal takes on Turkey to begin the final matchday of the 2016 Nike International Friendlies;
Hosted by U.S. Soccer at Premier Sports Complex in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec. 4, 2015) – Though they were playing on for pride in their final match of the 2016 Nike International Friendlies, Portugal and Turkey each brought their ‘A’ games to the pitch Sunday. With an early goal shout waived off for Turkey, Portugal would create better opportunities for themselves and walk away with a 2-0 win on two successful penalty kicks and solid defensive play.
After just four minutes of play, Turkey found themselves with their best opportunity of the day. A passing error by Portugal defender Tiago Djalo attracted the attention of a lurking Mehmet Sait Üzümcü who carried his fast break interception to the top of the penalty box before striking a shot. The attempt was saved by a diving Joao Goncalo, punching the ball to his right. The save would not be the end of it as the ball would stay in bounds and fell into space for Berkay Görmez on the right side of the box. Görmez hustled to the spot and flung a cross into the air, connecting with the head of Enes Islam Ilki, who appeared to head the ball onto the goal line before Goncalo retreated to get a hand on the ball mid-air. Turkey players thought the ball had crossed the line, but referee Farhad Dadkho refused the protests.
The missed opportunity proved to be significant wind taken out of the sails, as Turkey failed to create another quality chance to get on the scoreboard.
With the game’s momentum up for grabs, Portugal elected to pressure and test the Turkish defense for the remaining 85 minutes and Djalo would redeem his early error by taking the ball himself in the 41st minute. In his speedy overlapping run from his defensive position, Djalo used touches from his teammates to funnel into the box. As he received his final pass in the penalty area from Rafael Camacho he positioned his body for a strike before Turkey’s Bekir Melih Gökcimen took him down with a slide tackle from behind. The challenge would quickly secure a caution in the books and set up a penalty kick for Rodrigo Conceicao, who would fake out Berke Ozer in scoring into an empty left side to give Portugal a 1-0 lead.
After a couple of near conversions in the 73rd and 75th minutes, Portugal put put the game away for good in the 85th. After an efficient interception, Portugal midfielder Henrique Jocu launched a deep ball over the top to connect with Umaro Embalo in stride. Embalo would stay onside, take a couple of sprinting touches forward and get tackled from behind by Beki Melih Gökcimen. Having already received a caution, Due to his second caution of the game, Gökcimen was shown a second yellow and left the field with a look of exhaustion and disappointment on his shoulders.
The penalty kick would prove to be too easy for Embalo, who went down the middle to secure the victory for Portugal and give himself the lead for the Nike International Friendlies Golden Boot, with his fifth goal of the tournament.
With the win, Portugal walks away with four points on the tournament after posting a 1-1-1 record for the tournament.