UNL

Portugal escapes narrowly as Cristiano Ronaldo features in Spain near-win

In a taste of life without Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal snatched a late draw away at Spain to start their Nations League campaign.

Ricardo Horta of Portugal celebrates 1-1 during the UEFA Nations league match between Spain v Portugal

Having suffered a hip injury before their UEFA Nations League encounter with Spain, Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo was benched and watched from the sidelines as Portugal squandered promising chances, and escaped with only a draw in Sevilla.

The game started on a wasteful note as Rafael Leo blasted a reckless effort over the crossbar having received the ball from Raphael Guerreiro.

That, however, changed in the 25th minute, when Gavi launched a counter-attack and threaded a pass through to Pablo Sarabia, who teed up Alvaro Morata for Spain's opener.

Moments later, Gavi generated another fantastic opportunity for the Spaniards, but Carlos Soler's first attempt was saved, with the Valencia midfielder missing the target on his follow-up.

The game quickly heated up before half-time, with referee Michael Oliver handing out three yellow cards in the space of three minutes.

A greater scare for the Portuguese came straight after the restart when Pepe almost looped the ball over Diogo Costa. At the opposing end, Leao was denied as Simon made an impressive stop.

Ronaldo finally made his appearance in the 62nd minute as Fernando Santos sought an equalizer, but it was Alvaro Morata who had the next chance, eventually sending the ball wide.

Portugal then got their long-awaited equalizer in the 82nd minute as Ricardo Horta latched onto Joao Cancelo's cross before finishing off beautifully, to stun the home crowd.

Spain got a final opportunity but Jordi Alba missed what could have seen the La Roja restore their lead.

The draw meant Portugal maintained their run of never losing a second game in the UEFA Nations League.

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