Fernandes earns Portugal 1-0 win over Slovakia in Euro qualifier

Portugal's Bruno Fernandes scored in the first half to earn a 1-0 away win over Slovakia in their Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday as they moved five points clear of their opponents atop Group J and maintained their perfect record after five games.

Fernandes' low strike two minutes from halftime beat Martin Dubravka inside his far post as the midfielder marked his 29th birthday with his third goal in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

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Portugal had made a faltering start against Slovakia, who had two good chances inside the opening 15 minutes through forward Robert Polievka and winger Lukas Haraslin.

Haraslin was once more inches away from opening the scoring as the game neared the end of first half when his curled shot from the edge of the box narrowly missed the right post.

But after Fernandes gave Portugal the lead coach Roberto Martinez's side looked more like their usual selves in the second half, dominating possession and looking to extend their lead while Slovakia did well to keep the deficit to one goal.

Portugal, who host Luxembourg on Monday, have 15 points followed by Slovakia, who have 10 along with third-placed Luxembourg after they beat Iceland 3-1. Slovakia are bidding to qualify for their third consecutive European finals.

The two teams meet again on Oct. 13 in Porto.