No Cristiano Ronaldo no problems for Portugal in busy night of UEFA Nations League

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Andre Silva scored the only goal as Portugal beat Italy in the UEFA Nations League group A3 match

Portugal, without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, got their Nations League campaign under way with a 1-0 victory against Italy at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz.

Fernando Santos’ men did not have to get out of second gear to take the points against a much-changed side fielded by Roberto Mancini in the Group A3 clash in Lisbon.

After a dominant first-half display, the hosts finally made the breakthrough at the start of the second half when Sevilla loanee Andre Silva curled a shot into the bottom corner in the 48th minute.

Italy created their best chance 12 minutes from time but Simone Zaza could not get his header on target.

Two late goals from Emre Akbaba snatched Turkey a dramatic 3-2 win against Sweden in their Group B2 encounter.

Isaac Kiese Thelin opened the scoring for Sweden, turning in the rebound after his header had come back off a post.

Viktor Claesson made it two with a thumping 30-yard strike, only for Hakan Calhanoglu to pull one back shortly afterwards with a low drive from the right of the area.

It was 2-2 after 88 minutes when neat interplay ended with Akbaba lashing the ball into the roof of the net, and there was still time for the Galatasaray midfielder to head home a winner in the second minute of stoppage time.

Scotland claimed an encouraging 2-0 win over Albania in their Group C1 clash at Hampden Park.

Alex McLeish’s side had suffered a chastening 4-0 defeat by Belgium on Friday night but bounced back in their opening fixture, taking the lead two minutes after the break when Steven Naismith’s header went in off defender Berat Xhimshiti.

The Hearts attacker, a late call-up, headed in a second in the 68th minute to clinch three points and a welcome win for McLeish, whose side went into the game with one win in five friendly matches and having scored only one goal.

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic bagged a brace as Serbia were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Romania in Group C4.

He bundled in the first from on the floor, while his second, after Nicolae Stanciu had levelled from the penalty spot, was lashed home on the volley after the ball had sat up nicely in a crowded penalty area.

George Tucudean turned the ball home at the near post from a corner to grab Romania a point.

In the same group, goals from Stefan Savic and Marko Jankovic earned Montenegro a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

In Group D1, Andorra drew 1-1 with Kazakhstan and in Group D3, Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu helped Kosovo to a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands and Malta drew 1-1 at home to Azerbaijan.

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Awards 'not an objective' says Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane after FIFA, UEFA snubs

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Despite winning the Champions League and World Cup, Varane wasn't among the award finalists.

Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane says he is unbothered by snubs which saw him left out of the final three-man shortlists for both the UEFA and FIFA awards for best men’s player.

In 2017/18, Varane became just the ninth player to win the Champions League and World Cup in the same season, starring for Madrid as they won Europe’s premier club trophy for a historic third time and then guiding a solid France defence in their triumph in Russia.

He did make FIFA’s initial list of finalists, but for both awards, the top three were Liverpool‘s Mohamed Salah, Varane’s erstwhile club team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, and fellow Real Madrid man Luka Modric. Modric won the UEFA award.

“I’m glad you told me about it, but it’s not a topic of debate within the group,” Varane said.

“It’s an individual reward. We play a collective sport. It showcases the work done, but it’s a personal one.

“It’s not an objective and if I don’t win it, it won’t be a disappointment. It’s true that last season was exceptional. It will be difficult to do better, unless I put in 40 goals.

“Other players are less mentioned but have been very successful, like [N’Golo] Kante or [Paul] Pogba.”

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Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hints at return to management in near future

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Zinedine Zidane has hinted that he is set to return to management soon.

The former France star resigned from his position as Real Madrid manager after leading Los Blancos to a third successive Champions League crown at the end of May.

But he told Spanish broadcaster TVE that he plans to be back in the game shortly.

Zidane said: “Yes, surely. Soon I will return to training because it is what I like and is what I have done all my life.”

The 46-year-old is the favourite to replace Jose Mourinho if he is sacked by Manchester United later this season.

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