Portugal rescued a draw against Switzerland from two goals behind in their Euro 2022 Group C opener thanks to a spirited second half comeback.
Switzerland raced into an early lead in the opening moments when Columba Sow and Rahel Kiwic scored in quick succession. But Portugal were a different team after half-time, playing with higher tempo and getting back into it through Diana Gomes and Jessica Silva.
It was a dream start for a Swiss side keen to make an early statement against a Portuguese team that only had 10 weeks to prepare to be here. Sow’s quick thinking as the ball broke to her outside the penalty saw the forward last the ball into the far bottom corner.
There were fewer than 90 seconds on the clock, but rather than sit back, Switzerland press down o the gas and were 2-0 ahead under three minutes later. This time, slack defending allowed Kiwic to nod in Ramona Bachmann’s deep free-kick.
At risk of collapsing, Portugal managed to regroup and find a foothold after that. They were looking to start creating chances of their own, although a reluctance to be further exposed defensively, especially out wide, perhaps equated to the handbrake being left on.
Diana Silva sent an audacious flick just off target in the closing stages of the half, which was the first real half chance either team had had since Switzerland’s second goal.
Portugal’s lack of width did improve after the interval, especially with Jessica Silva pulling Switzerland’s centre-backs across the pitch with her. That got them into better attacking positions and they got their reward from a corner when the persistent Gomes poked in her own rebound.
The Portuguese pressure kept coming as they suddenly grew more in confidence. Jessica Silva even attempted a rabonna cross at one stage and had her goal soon after. The Swiss looked increasingly sluggish at the back and Tatiana Pinto’s measured cross was stroked in on the volley for 2-2.
With Switzerland on the ropes in the closing stage, Portugal finished the stronger. Only Gaelle Thalmann’s hands stopped Dolores Silva from making it 3-2, with Jessica Silva still posing a major threat by running behind and stretching the defence.
Both teams had late chances to win it. First, Sow saw a golden opportunity for Switzerland blocked by a combination of Catarina Amado and goalkeeper Ines Pereira, while Portugal substitute Telma Encarnacao agonisingly struck the base of the post at the other end. The same player was also foiled soon after by an inch-perfect challenge from recovering centre-back Viola Callgaris.
In the end, both sides might come away disappointing, knowing this game was there to be won ahead of much tougher tasks against Sweden and Netherlands to come.
1. Portugal (4-3-1-2)
GK: Ines Pereira - 6/10 - Seemingly surprised by the early opener but arguably could have done more to try and reach it. Put it behind her.
RB: Catarina Amado - 7/10 - Vital late block stopped Switzerland from snatching it.
CB: Diana Gomes - 7/10 - Wanted it more than the Swiss defenders when she halved the deficit with a rebound from her own header.
CB: Carole Costa - 5/10 - Dropped in way too deep playing everyone onside when Switzerland scored their second.
LB: Joana Marchao - 6/10 - Improved in the second half.
CM: Tatiana Pinto - 7/10 - Her perfect delivery gave Jessica Silva what was by then a deserved equaliser.
CM: Dolores Silva (c) - 6/10 - Denied a potential winner only by a top save.
CM: Andreia Norton - 7/10 - Clearly grew more in confidence as the game progressed.
AM: Diana Silva - 6/10 - Dropped into midfield without the ball but pushed up through the middle as an extra striker with it.
ST: Jessica Silva - 9/10 - Portugal's most obvious attacking threat from the start, especially after the break when she pulled wide more effectively. Firmly deserved to score a well-taken equaliser.
ST: Ana Borges - 6/10 - Got bogged down in a physical battle in the first half, taking hits but also dishing them out. Put in a hard shift overall.
SUB: Kika Nazareth (77' for Borges) - 7/10
SUB: Fatima Pinto (83' for T. Pinto) - 6/10
SUB: Telma Encarnacao (83' for J. Silva) - 8/10
2. Switzerland (4-4-1-1)
GK: Gaelle Thalmann - 6/10 - Did well to save Gomes' initial header but stood no chance with the rebound. Made a key save in the second half.
RB: Noelle Maritz - 5/10 - Found it more difficult to cope after the interval as Portugal changed their tactics.
CB: Viola Callgaris - 6/10 - Caught on her heels when Jessica Silva equalised in front of her. Made a vital last ditch tackle near the end.
CB: Rahel Kiwic - 6/10 - In the right place at the right time to score an early header. Struggled more with Portugal's forwards in the second half.
LB: Eseosa Aigbogun 5/10 - Fortunate to avoid a first half red card with a late tackle whilst on a yellow card.
RM: Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic - 5/10 - Not involved enough for a player of her ability, experience and reputation.
CM: Lia Walti (c) - 6/10 - Started in control of the game in central areas. Deep in discussion with coach Nils Nielsen at one point in the second half.
CM: Sandy Maendly - 5/10 - Beaten by Gomes' clever movement in the box when Portugal got back into it.
LM: Geraldine Reuteler - 6/10 - Okay rather than good or outstanding.
SS: Coumba Sow - 6/10 - It was quick thinking to spot the opportunity to smash home her early goal. Too quiet after that.
ST: Ramona Bachmann - 6/10 - Put a good free-kick into the right area to give her team the chance to quickly double their early lead.
SUB: Lara Marti (73' for Maendly) - 5/10
SUB: Fabienne Humm (90+1' for Reuteler) - N/A
SUB: Sandrine Mauron (90+2' for Walti) - N/A