Ex-Milan striker Andre Silva got the only goal, but Portugal also hit the bar and forced a goal-line clearance as Italy capitulated in Lisbon.
The Azzurri started their Nations League campaign by drawing 1-1 with Poland, while it was the opening game in the tournament for Portugal. CT Roberto Mancini transformed his side, with only Jorginho and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma keeping their places in the starting XI, SPAL wing-back Manuel Lazzari making his international debut. The system also moved from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2. The Euro 2016 winners were without Cristiano Ronaldo, who preferred to focus on training with new club Juventus, and injured Raphael Guerreiro and Rony Lopes.
Bryan Cristante, a former Benfica player familiar with the Estadio da Luz, lost possession early on and was fortunate Portugal didn’t take full advantage. Federico Chiesa and Andre Silva had shots on target, while a Zaza back-heel flick for Immobile was intercepted in the box.
Portugal had a big chance on 26 minutes, as Gianluigi Donnarumma flapped at a Bruma header and it was knocked down for Bernardo Silva, but Alessio Romagnoli was there for a decisive goal-line clearance.
The hosts threatened again on the counter from an Italy corner only for Bruma to blast off target, but there was a huge scare moments later.
Napoli full-back Mario Rui skipped past Lazzari and his cross was deflected into the air off Cristante to bounce on the top of the crossbar.
William Carvalho drilled just wide of the far post from distance and Jorginho’s volley was smothered.
Portugal took the lead straight after the restart, as Bruma got away from Caldara and Lazzari into acres of space, rolled across for Andre Silva, who had time to take two touches in the box before curling in to the far bottom corner from 12 yards.
It was almost 2-0, as Donnarumma flew to claw a deflected Bernardo Silva strike out of the far top corner, while he also took two attempts to block a Pizzi angled drive.
Bonaventura finally put a good corner in at the 78th minute and Zaza’s header whistled just over the crossbar, then Caldara nodded wide from an Emerson Palmieri free kick, but Donnarumma was again called into action by Renato Sanches on the counter-attack.
Pepe should've seen red in stoppages for a shocking high tackle on Chiesa, but was only booked.
Portugal 1-0 Italy
Andre Silva 48 (P)
Portugal: Patricio; Cancelo, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Mario Rui; Pizzi (Renato Sanches 73), Ruben Neves, William Carvalho (Sergio Carvalho 86); Bruma (Gelson Martins 77), Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva
Italy: Donnarumma; Lazzari, Caldara, Romagnoli, Criscito (Emerson 73); Chiesa, Cristante (Belotti 79), Jorginho, Bonaventura; Zaza, Immobile (Berardi 58)
Ref: Collum (SCO)