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MACAU DAILY TIMES 澳門每日時報 Conceição scores in stoppage time to get Portugal off to winning start

Portuguese Francisco Conceicao (26) scores his team’s second and decisive goal

Portugal 2, Czech Republic 1

Portugal substitute Francisco Conceição scored in stoppage time yesterday for a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in the opening match of the European Championship (Macau time).

Conceição, who only made his appearance in the 90th minute, fired the ball home in the 92nd minute after Robin Hranac’s attempt to block fellow substitute Pedro Neto’s shot fell kindly for the Porto winger to fire into the left post.

“The players who came off the bench showed that the team has many options,” said Portugal coach Roberto Martínez.

Conceição drove away in delight and was shown a yellow card for taking off his jersey.

It has been almost 24 years since Conceição’s father, Sérgio Conceição, scored a hat-trick to knock defending champions Germany out of the 2000 European Championship.

Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek had thwarted Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portuguese star became the first to play in six European Championship tournaments. Ronaldo, 39, was unable to add to his record-breaking 14 goals in his record-extending 26th appearance at the tournament.

41-year-old Portuguese defender Pepe became the oldest player to play at the tournament, despite having little to do as the 2016 champions dominated possession and chances.

“We won because the group is united. We have become resilient in recent days,” said Martínez, who praised his team for fighting back after being the first to concede.

It came as a shock when Lukas Provod broke the deadlock at the other end with a fierce strike into the far post after Vladimir Coufal put the ball back in the 62nd minute.

Portugal leveled in the 70th when Stanek’s save from Nuno Mendes’ header bounced off the hapless Hranac’s shin.

Hranac was also involved when Conceição scored the winner.

“It was a lot of bad luck, but it was a fast terrain, very wet. These unfortunate things can happen,” said Czech coach Ivan Hasek. “I have to thank my players for their hard work. Portugal were better, they deserved to win.”

Turkey previously defeated tournament debutant Georgia 3-1 in the other match in Group F. CIARÁN FAHEY, LEIPZIG, MDT/AP

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