15 November 2019
Portugal welcome dead-last Lithuania to the Estádio Algarve obliged to pick up three points to increase their chances of progressing to next summer’s tournament from the 2020 UEFA European Championship Qualifying (ECQ) Group B.
The hosts will be looking to bounce back after a 2-1 away loss to Ukraine when they tackle a side they’ve hammered 5-1 in the reverse fixture back in September. Sitting one point clear of third-placed Serbia, the reigning European champions have no margin for error here, with two games left to go. But, although ‘Os Navegadores’ have not lost a single home game in the ongoing qualifying, they’ve played out two draws in three ECQ home outings so far (W1). While both of those stalemates featured under 2.5 goals, Portugal’s only home victory has seen them brush aside Luxembourg 3-0. Since returning from the World Cup, Fernando Santos’ men have put together seven consecutive competitive home matches without a loss (W4, D3), keeping four clean sheets along the way.
As for the visitors, they remain the only nation in Group B that has yet to pick up a win in the qualifying (D1, L6), with their sole point coming on home soil. Each of Lithuania’s three ECQ away defeats have seen them concede at least one goal in both halves, while only one witnessed them score from an open play. Lithuania’s dismal away record over the past five years makes them big underdogs ahead of the kick-off, as the Baltic minnows suffered 12 defeats in 16 competitive road trips in that sequence (D4). Eleven of those losses have seen them allow at least two goals, while Valdas Urbonas’ side drew a blank on nine of those occasions. It will be only their fourth H2H with Portugal, and Lithuania can’t draw inspiration from their previous three H2Hs, as they’ve conceded at least four goals in all of those encounters, scoring precisely one per match in each.
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