Portugal 7-0 Andorra
It was a great night for debutants as Pedro Neto and Paulinho scored three of Portugal’s seven goals in an assured performance against Andorra, in a friendly game that also saw Domingos Duarte make his debut.
Renato Sanches, Cristiano Ronaldo, João Félix, and an Andorra own goal completed the scoring at the Estádio da Luz.
While the necessity of playing friendly international games in the middle of a global pandemic may be up for debate, this game gave Fernando Santos a great chance to use his squad depth before Portugal’s UEFA Nations League tie against France on Saturday. Santos handed debuts to three players: Domingos Duarte, Paulinho, and Pedro Neto. Wins against Andorra are typically routine for Portugal as the visiting side has lost all five games against the Seleção – conceding 22 goals in the process.
It didn’t take long for one of the debutants to make their mark on the game. After just eight minutes Nélson Semedo’s cross from the right eventually found its way to Pedro Neto to finish emphatically from close range. The Wolves player had become the first player born after 2000 to play – and score – for the national team.
Portugal dominated the entire first half and got a second through another debutant. Nélson Semedo’s delivery again causing the Andorra defence problems, this time a low ball that Paulinho coolly dispatched after 28 minutes gone in the game. Nélson Semedo almost set up another goal immediately afterwards, but Renato Sanches blasted a good chance over the bar from close range.
Andorra won’t have been too disappointed going into half time with the score only at 2-0. However, the entry of Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo for Sérgio Oliveira and Pedro Neto wouldn’t have been a welcome sight. Hearts were in mouths for Portugal when Ronaldo landed awkwardly from one of his typically gigantic leaps while trying to meet a cross just after his introduction, but the forward was able to continue.
Ronaldo’s first significant involvement was to give Renato Sanches a goal to put Portugal 3-0 up after 56 minutes. The Lille midfielder scoring his first Portugal goal since his memorable strike against Poland during Euro 2016 and slotted his effort away neatly.
Paulinho added to his tally five minutes later by meeting Mário Rui’s cross with a thunderous header for Portugal's fourth. The Braga man wasn’t able to complete his hat-trick as he was soon replaced by João Félix, while fellow scorer Renato Sanches was replaced by William Carvalho. The Betis midfielder had the ball in the net not long after his introduction, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Cristiano Ronaldo was desperate for a goal from the moment he came onto the pitch. He almost scored Portugal’s fifth of the evening in the 75th minute but Bernardo Silva’s low pass was diverted into the goal by Andorra defender Emili García before Ronaldo could get a touch. Ronaldo came closer still when Danilo chipped in a lovely pass into the area, but the forward’s touch uncharacteristically let him down.
It was 85 minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo finally got the goal he was on a mission for, heading past Josep Gomes from close range from Mário Rui’s cross. João Félix added a seventh goal just two minutes later when Bernardo Silva’s cross was headed down by William Carvalho for the Atlético Madrid man to finish. Andorra goalkeeper Gomes was needed to prevent Félix from getting another just before the end.
In the end, it was a comfortable night for Fernando Santos’s team. Paulinho and Pedro Neto will be delighted to have marked their debuts with goals, while Domingos Duarte was relatively untested at the back. Although the game didn’t tell us much about how Portugal will line up against France this weekend, the comfortable win will surely have helped boost the Seleção’s confidence.
by Richard Cole
Portugal XI: Anthony Lopes; Nélson Semedo, Rúben Semedo, Domingos Duarte, Mário Rui; Sérgio Oliveira (Bernardo Silva, 46’), João Moutinho (Danilo Pereira, 74’), Renato Sanches (William Carvalho, 63’); Francisco Trincão (Diogo Jota, 74’), Paulinho (João Félix, 63’), Pedro Neto (Cristiano Ronaldo, 46’)
Andorra XI: Josep Gomes; Jordi Rubio, Marc Rebés (Albert Alavedra, 59’), Emili Garcia, Adri Rodrigues, Marc Garcia (Moisés San Nicolás, 46’); Kiki Martínez (Ludovic Clemente, 69’), Marc Pujol (Sergi Moreno, 80’), Joan Cervós (Alex Martínez, 69’); Márcio Vieira (Jordi Aláez, 59’), Aarón Sánchez
[1-0] Pedro Neto, 8’
[2-0] Paulinho, 28’
[3-0] Renato Sanches, 56’
[4-0] Paulinho, 61’
[5-0] Emili García (OG), 76’
[6-0] Cristiano Ronaldo, 85’
[7-0] João Félix, 87’