Spain 1-1 Portugal: Selecao nabs late leveler in preview of life without Ronaldo

The Manchester United striker was benched and spent the first hour looking sideways after suffering a hip problem, while his international team-mates wasted a number of good openings.

A match too often massacred by cynical fouls struggled to come to life after Diogo Costa’s drop from a first Spanish corner. Rafael Leao fired from Portugal’s promising top position before the hosts produced the opener on the counter.

Barcelona youngster Gavi stood out all evening and led the way after Otavio’s aerial kick and Bruno Fernandes’ missed tackle. A sneaky ball into Ferran Torres created space for Alvaro Morata, who positioned himself perfectly to drive home the layoff after 25 minutes.

Carlos Soler squandered a magnificent chance to do so two seconds later after another pass from Gavi, this time forcing Costa to parry his shot before the Valencia man somehow placed his rebound on the above the bar.

Leao and Andre Silva, starting ahead of Ronaldo, carried a certain threat with Silva firing off target after a fine ball into the box from Otavio, which knocked Unai Simon off his line and yet only collected a dragging shot which went wide.

A more confident Portuguese side came out in the second half and Silva gave Leao a huge chance on the hour mark, with the AC Milan striker producing a magnificent first touch before a wayward second allowed Simon to strike. stifle his shot. Off camera, Ronaldo was stripped down and ready to go in.

Instead, it was Spain who looked more likely to grab second with a more direct approach leading to snaps of Morata and Jordi Alba behind.

Portugal managed to equalize ten minutes from time after an explosive run from Joao Cancelo caught the hosts’ defense taking a siesta, and Ricardo Horta went unmarked through the middle to score his first international goal – in Braga’s first midfield selection since his debut in 2014.

A back-and-forth finish saw Alba head for a glorious chance after Costa fired a right cross over the veteran defender before the scores ended level for a fifth game in a row between the Iberian neighbors.

standard Sport

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