Portugal fail to convert in goalless friendly with Spain

Portugal 0-0 Spain

Portugal were held to a 0-0 draw at home to neighbouring Spain after hitting the crossbar twice in a friendly hosted at the Alvalade, welcoming 2,500 socially-distanced fans.

The Seleção das Quinas looked second best among Spain’s possession-scented brand of football before edging themselves closer to the opener in the second half, via Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike against the bar.

Renato Sanches encountered the same sense of agony moments later after also being denied by the frame of the goal before a head-in-hands miss from João Félix, a minute from time, concluded a goalless draw.

In the absence of José Fonte, Fernando Santos, on his record-equalling 74th game for Portugal, turned to Rubén Semedo and Sanches for the date against an experimental Spain line-up, composed by Luís Enrique.

The visitors set the pace in Lisbon, taking aim on a number occasions, more notably through Dani Olmo and Rodrigo Moreno in their bid to open the scoring within the first ten minutes.

La Furia Roja continued to press in the 17th minute, forcing Rui Patrício into action from range before Gerard Moreno, inside the box, almost turned in a close-range effort deflected onto the side-netting by Rubén Semedo.

Portugal had to wait until the final embers of the first half to make their presence felt, despite missing convincingly on both occasions through a Raphäel Guerreiro volley and Cristiano Ronaldo's outstretched header, prolonging the deadlock.

Ronaldo would go a lot closer in the 52nd minute after being spotted by William Carvalho on the edge of the box, enabling the Portugal captain to work an angle and fire the ball viciously against the underside of the crossbar on his left foot.

William was central to a second opportunity for the Seleção as the game opened up, releasing Ronaldo down the left before the latter’s cross with the outside of his foot was smashed against the bar for a second time, as Sanches tried his luck in the 67th minute. Spain’s biggest obstacle continued to be Patrício between the sticks after Olmo found no way past the Wolverhampton Wanderers keeper from Adama Traoré’s cut-back.

As the game settled into a nice rhythm, Portugal replied via Félix and Francisco Trincão on the counter, requiring Kepa Arrizabalaga to rush off his line and reduce the time and space for a clear execution.

Félix could and probably should have altered the score-line with just a minute of the game to go, being found all alone, just yards out from goal, by Rubén Semedo’s flick-on, but the Atlético Madrid forward’s inability to connect with the ball at the back-post confirmed a 0-0 draw between the two Iberian nations.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Raphäel Guerreiro (Nelson Semedo, 68’), Pepe (Rubén Dias, 45’), Rubén Semedo, João Cancelo - Rubén Neves, João Moutinho (William Carvalho, 45’), Renato Sanches - Cristiano Ronaldo (João Félix, 71’), Andre Silva (Bernardo Silva, 45’), Francisco Trincão (Diogo Jota, 79’)

Spain XI: Kepa - Sérgio Reguilón, Èric García (Sérgio Ramos, 82’), Diego Llorente, Sergi Roberto - Sérgio Busquets (Rodri, 62’), Sérgio Canales (Adama Traoré, 62’), Dani Ceballos (José Campaña, 45’) - Dani Olmo, Gerard Moreno, Rodrigo Moreno (Mikel Merino, 60’)