Portugal 0-1 France:Chelsea N’Golo Kante strike secures final-four spot and ends champions’ defence

France ended Portugal’s defence of their Nations League title on Saturday, with N’Golo Kante bagging the winner to sink the holders 1-0 in Lisbon.

Kante scored in the 54th minute when the midfielder joined the attack hunting for a loose ball, which fell to him when goalkeeper Rui Patricio fumbled a save.

France clinched first-place in Group 3, moving three points clear of Portugal and out of reach on head-to-head goals with one game to play. Portugal won last year’s inaugural Nations League.

The world champions outplayed the European champions at Benfica’s stadium and were denied a lead by half-time only thanks to Patricio.

Starting for the injured Kylian Mbappe, France striker Anthony Martial hit the post on the half-hour mark and had two more good chances denied by Patricio.

Portugal mustered its two best scoring chances once it fell behind to Kante’s goal.

Defender Jose Fonte almost equalised in the 60th when he headed off the post.

France goalie Hugo Loris protected the lead by stretching to block a stinging shot by substitute Joao Moutinho with 15 minutes left.

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo was left seven goals shy of the men’s national team record held by former Iran striker Ali Daei with his 109 goals.

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