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Ball Don’t Lie: Turkey Misses Soft Penalty To Help Portugal, Ronaldo Eke Through

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are one game away from qualifying for the World Cup.

Sometimes, the ball knows more than the referee and video replay.

With Portugal nursing a one-goal lead late in its UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff, Turkey was awarded a Charmin-soft penalty. Burak Yılmaz stepped up to the spot, but the ball knew what had to happen.

Yılmaz skied his penalty over the crossbar, Portugal scored a late insurance goal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s side advanced to the qualifying final with a 3-1 victory on Thursday. 

Portugal now will play North Macedonia, which stunned Italy 1-0, on Tuesday for the right to go to the World Cup in November. 

Yılmaz, who has reinvented himself over the last two years with French champion Lille, could have completed a comeback from two goals down after José Fonte softly kicked Enes Ünal just inside the box. But ball don’t lie.

Burak Yılmaz Penalty Miss vs. Portugal

You can argue whether Fonte’s challenge was a foul, but you can’t argue it was a very small amount of contact for a potential World Cup-deciding action. In the end, it didn’t matter, as Yılmaz missed, and Matheus Nunes put the game away with a goal in the 94th minute.

For the run of play, Portugal deserved the win, racking up more possession (59%), shots (16-12) and shots on target (8-5). At times, A Seleção passed around Turkey with ease, though the Crescent Stars occasionally looked dangerous going forward when they did get on the ball. 

Portugal vs. Turkey Highlights

Otávio gave Portugal the lead in the 15th minute when he pounced on a shot off the post. Ronaldo could have been in a better position to score, but he was happy to watch the Porto winger score the opener. 

Just before halftime, Diogo Jota made it 2-0. The Liverpool attacker, despite his 5-10 frame, is excellent in the air, which he showed once more with a superb header.

Turkey got back into the match by briefly turning into 2010 Spain. A clever one-two between Yılmaz and Cengiz Ünder had Turkey believing it could come back.

But the Burak Yılmaz penalty miss all but ended the hopes of a late equalizer, and Matheus Nunes put the game away on the counter.

Portugal vs. Turkey Full Match Highlights

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