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SPORTS

Spain and Portugal play out entertaining stalemate

FOOTBALL By Reuters | June 5th 2021
June 4, 2021 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo in action with Spain's Diego Llorente [REUTERS]

Spain and Portugal played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on Friday as both sides prepared for this month's European Championship.

In the first international game with fans in attendance in Spain since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 15,000-strong crowd present thought Spain had fallen behind when Jose Fonte's looping header beat Unai Simon after 23 minutes. However, it was ruled out for a foul on Pau Torres.

A nervy Simon then saw a clearance charged down by Cristiano Ronaldo. But the ball ricocheted straight back to the Athletic Bilbao stopper.

After struggling early on, the hosts were much better after the restart, with Alvaro Morata and Pablo Sarabia both missing chances.

Portugal were indebted to keeper Rui Patricio, who denied Ferran Torres from close range with two minutes remaining, before Morata hit the bar in stoppage time as Luis Enrique's side pushed for a late winner to no avail.

"We wanted to win, but it wasn't to be. We did some very good stuff and we'll take that away with us," defender Jose Luis Gaya told Spanish television.

"There's room for improvement, but all sides have things to improve before the tournament.

"Maybe we need to get better at set pieces, which is where Portugal are really strong, but the reality is we had the best chances to win the game."

Spain face Lithuania in their final warm-up fixture on Tuesday before the Euros kick off next Friday.

Portugal host Israel on Wednesday before they start the defence of their Euro title.

 

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