Portugal defeated a tenacious Turkey side 3-1 in their UEFA World Cup playoff semifinal to keep their hopes of reaching the showpiece event in Qatar at the end of the year alive.
With both sides facing a win-or-go-home situation, Portugal gained an early lead thanks to Otavio, a 27-year-old Porto forward who pounced on the rebound from Bernardo Silva's shot as it caromed off the post and into his path.
Otavio then set up Portugal's second goal with an out-swinging cross that Diogo Jota headed beyond Ugurcan Cakir to give Fernando Santos' side a 2-0 half-time lead.
Turkey, however, was undeterred by the two-goal deficit and cut the hosts' lead in half on 65 minutes when Burak Yilmaz finished off a neat give-and-go with Cengiz Under to bring his team right back into the game.
After a pitchside review suggested Jose Fonte fouled Enes Unal in the area, VAR gave Turkey a great chance to tie the score from the penalty spot, but Yilmaz skied his effort over the crossbar as Portugal held on to their lead.
Matheus Nunes calmed Portugal's nerves in second-half stoppage time, beating Cakir at the conclusion of a brilliant move to enable his team goes to their respective playoff final.
"I wasn't disappointed with the team," Santos told reporters. "But we played with fire today." "We had control of the game but had slowed down. Obviously, the players are not machines; we did not score 3-0, and such things can occur in football. But I'm glad we handled it so nicely. That [penalty] moment may have been bad for us."
On Tuesday, Portugal will face North Macedonia, who stunned Italy with a 1-0 win in one of the day's other quarterfinals, for a place in the 2022 World Cup.
"We need to treat North Macedonia with the same respect that we treat Italy," Santos added.
"As I previously stated, those games are not a joke; they are like a final, and anything may happen. You must approach it with the utmost intensity and concentration. It is unnecessary to introduce a team that travels to Italy and defeats the European champs."
On Portugal's forthcoming opponents, goalkeeper Nunes mirrored his manager's comments.
Nunes remarked, "We can't think it'll be simple against North Macedonia." "Now we must rest and prepare for the game. It's a group that deserves all of our admiration. They went to Italy and won; quality is required to do this."