Bernardo Silva apologises to Portugal fans for Serbia loss

Bernardo Silva has apologised to Portugal fans after the team threw away a 1-0 lead over Serbia to lose 2-1, scuppering their chances of automatic World Cup qualification.

They will instead have to compete in the playoffs.

Renato Sanches had put the Selecao ahead in the second minute, but a howler in goal from Rui Patricio allowed Dusan Tadic to level things up in Lisbon. A point would have been enough for Portugal, but instead Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in a winner for Serbia, who reached Qatar's 2022 showpiece as Group A winners at the expense of Silva's side.

The playoff group already contains teams like Sweden, Scotland and Russia, while Poland, Italy, Wales and the Czech Republic could also be opponents for Portugal once the final games from this international break are concluded and the runners up finalised.

After the game, Silva said: "It was a bad game for Portugal. We managed to score the goal early but from then on we stopped playing. I cannot find a great explanation for this, words fail me.

"It was terrible, we have to do much better because we have a play-off in March and we will do our best to qualify. But at home, with 65,000 fans, we had to do much better. 

"I apologise to the Portuguese [fans] who watched a game they shouldn't have watched. The plan was to try to have the ball, we were completely dominated by Serbia. With the quality of our players this is hardly admissible.

"I played a little bit limited, I tried to give my best until the moment came when I thought that another player would be in better conditions."

Silva himself grabbed the assist for Sanches' strike, but Premier League stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota endured quiet games before Mitrovic's header won it for Serbia.

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Source : 90min