Belgium made a positive start in UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round Group 1, a fine Maxime Lestienne finish seeing them beat Portugal 1-0 in Porec.
Portugal had looked the brighter side in the opening stages, but Marc Van Geersom's Belgium made the breakthrough on 25 minutes, Club Brugge KV winger Lestienne firing a loose ball home stylishly from ten metres after team-mate Marnick Vermijl had failed to find the target from closer range. Portugal dominated after the break but found KRC Genk goalkeeper Koen Casteels in fine form; he denied captain Rúben Pinto seven minutes after the break and was alive to the threat as João Amorim got a free-kick on target in the closing stages.
"Our goal was not to lose this match," said Van Geersom. "Our tactics were maybe not pretty but we wanted a victory and we got it. Now we have really good chance to win this group and get to the final tournament in Romania."
His opposite number Hélio Sousa added: "We made only one mistake in match. Belgium deserved their victory. We were trying to score a goal, but we didn't manage to do that; Belgium kept plenty of players in defence and that tactic worked great for them."
Belgium meet mini-tournament hosts Croatia in their next game, while Portugal take on Estonia, who also lost their opening fixture 1-0.
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