Portugal continued their preparation for the World Cup with a 4-0 friendly win against Nigeria. They were missing star man and team captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been in the headlines of late because of his controversial interview with Piers Morgan.
The iconic number 7 was missing with a stomach bug but his presence on the pitch was not missed much as his teammates were able to comfortably put the Super Eagles to the sword. It was his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes that was the star of the show as the attacking midfielder netted a brace.
It didn’t take long for Portugal to open the scoring in the match as Bruno Fernandes struck in the 9th minute of the game. Diogo Dalot received a long pass from Joao Felix and then made his way into the box before showing good patience to find his Manchester United teammate. Fernandes’ finish was an easy one as he only needed to slot the ball into an empty net.
Portugal dominated proceedings in the first half and were able to prevent their opponents from making progress as they won the ball back consistently with a strong press. They were also doing all they could to fashion chances for themselves and their pressure eventually paid off as they won a penalty.
In the 34th minute, Nigeria’s fullback Bright Osayi-Samuel was deemed to have committed a foul in the penalty area after Bernado Silva’s cross hit his arm. The protests of the Nigerian players fell on deaf ears as the referee pointed to the spot. The resulting penalty was converted by Bruno Fernandes for his second goal of the game.
Just before half time, Joao Felix was once again involved with a good Portugal chance. This time be found Bruno Fernandes with a superb through ball but Fernandes was unable to convert from a tight angle to complete his hatrick.
Nigeria didn’t have much to offer from an offensive perspective but for a few forrays into the Portuguese penalty area from Joe Aribo and Moses Simon, which were no problems for the Portuguese defence.
Nigeria started the second half better than they ended the first but for the most part they could not create any good opportunities for them to capitalize on and get themselves back in the game.
Portugal eventually took control of proceedings by upping their tempo and forced Francis Uzoho to make a great save. A deflected shot from Joao Felix from about 15 yards out was parried away by the keeper in the 73rd minute.
Nigeria were handed a lifeline in the 80th minute as Diogo Dalot’s foul on Osayi-Samuel was given as a penalty by VAR. Emmanuel Dennis stepped up for the spot kick and saw his weak spot kick saved by Rui Patricio.
Dennis and Nigeria were made to regret their missed opportunity as Portugal went on to score another two goals in the closing stages.
The first one came just a minute after the miss via debutant Goncalo Ramos. The finish was a simple one as he passed the ball into an empty net after a square ball from Raphael Guerrero.
Ramos then turned provider two minutes later after his backheel in the box found Joao Mario, who finished a smooth Portuguese move to make it 4-0.
It was too easy in the end for Portugal as their opponents couldn’t muster any proper resistance throughout. It’s off to the World Cup for Fernando Santos’ men as their next match will be on the 24th of November against Ghana.