Portugal punch ticket with victory over Swiss
Silva strikes in 2-0 win
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal defeated Switzerland last night in Lisbon to earn a place at the 2018 World Cup and consign their opponents to next month’s play-offs.
Switzerland, who beat Portugal 2-0 at home last year, had won all nine previous qualifiers but must overcome a two-legged play-off in November to earn a fourth straight World Cup appearance.
AC Milan striker Andre Silva forced Yann Sommer into a smart early save from his deflected shot, with the Swiss goalkeeper then forced to make a terrific stop to tip over Bernardo Silva’s effort.
A clumsy challenge in the area on Switzerland forward Haris Seferovic by Benfica team-mate Eliseu went unpunished as the visitors made a rare foray forward.
The crowd at the Estadio da Luz then erupted when Djourou inadvertently bundled a dangerous cross from Eliseu beyond Sommer four minutes before the break under heavy pressure from Joao Mario.
Xherdan Shaqiri tried to deceive Portugal keeper Rui Patricio with an ambitious free-kick early in the second period, but Portugal doubled their advantage with a brilliant team goal on 57 minutes.
Bernardo Silva exchanged passes with former Monaco team-mate Joao Moutinho, threading through the return pass for an unmarked Andre Silva to steer in at the far post.
Switzerland will be among the seeded countries for the play-off draw on October 17 and could face Sweden, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Greece for a place at Russia 2018.
Andre the giant: Silva scores for Portugal at the far post.