Thursday, February 22, 2024

Neto nets on international duty

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Pedro Neto was back amongst the goals while representing Portugal’s under-21s over the weekend.

The wide man continued his return to full fitness with a trademark finish during a weekend which saw five members of Julen Lopetegui’s side get minutes for their countries.

Dexter Lembikisa and Raul Jimenez locked horns in Mexico, while Ruben Neves and Joe Hodge helped their respective sides to victories.

Pedro Neto | Romania U21 0-2 Portugal U21

Wide man Neto, who returned from injury for Wolves last month, was on target for his country on Friday evening, as the young Portuguese side beat Romania 2-0. The Wolves man bagged the second by charging down the left, cutting inside and firing into the far corner with his right foot from just inside the area, beyond the goalkeeper. At the break the Wolves man was one of a number of Portuguese replaced, leaving him fresh for potentially more minutes against Norway. There were no further goals after the break and Portuguese cruised to a 2-0 win in the friendly.

Jose Sa, Ruben Neves & Matheus Nunes | Luxembourg 0-6 Portugal

Neto’s captain Neves was also in action, coming off the bench for the Portugal senior team on 64 minutes and providing an assist for Rafael Leao in their 6-0 win over Luxembourg. Neves set up the AC Milan midfielder with two minutes remaining to wrap up a comfortable victory for Portugal. The success left Roberto Martinez’s side top with two wins from two and a goal difference of plus 10. Jose Sa and Matheus Nunes were named in the matchday squad but remained on the bench as their country continued their perfect start to Euro 2024 qualification.



Raul Jimenez & Dexter Lembikisa | Mexico 2-2 Jamaica

In the CONCACAF Nations League, Raul Jimenez and Dexter Lembikisa were in opposite camps as Mexico and Jamaica drew 2-2, with the Wolves duo both coming off the bench as Mexico booked their place in the competition’s finals. All the goals came in the first half at a wet Azteca Stadium, before Lembikisa earned his latest international cap at the break. He was followed on by Jimenez in the 62nd minute, meaning the pair shared the pitch for 28 minutes, in which time the Wolves number nine pick up a booking. The draw was enough to see Mexico qualify for the CNL Finals, which will consist of a semi-final and final in June. Mexico were runners up at the inaugural edition in 2021, losing 3-2 to the USA in the final.

Joe Hodge | Republic of Ireland U21 2-1 Iceland U21

Hodge continued his impressive season to date by captaining the Republic of Ireland’s under-21s to victory over Iceland on Sunday. Ireland, who played with 10 men for more than half the game, came from behind to win 2-1 at Turners Cross to provide the ideal preparation for Euro 2025 qualification. The Wolves man played the full 90 minutes in the midfield, adding to his ten senior appearances for the old gold so far this season.

Joao Gomes | Morocco 2-1 Brazil

Joao Gomes will have to wait for his senior Brazil debut, after the Wolves youngster was an unused substitute against Morocco on Saturday. Gomes watched from the bench as Morocco, featuring former old gold man Romain Saiss, beat Brazil 2-1 in a friendly. The Brazil side, which boasted the likes of Vinicius Junior, Casemiro and Rodrygo, were beaten by a Moroccan winner 11 minutes from time.

Coming up…

Neto will look to add to his goal as Portugal’s under-21s face another friendly on Tuesday evening, this time against Norway. Rayan Ait-Nouri recently made his senior Algeria debut and cap number two is up for grabs on Monday, as they face Niger for a second time in five days. Finally, Nathan Collins will be coming up against World Cup runners up France on Monday evening, as the Republic of Ireland begin their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.

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