A first-half brace from Bruno Fernandes and quick second-half goals from Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario saw Nigeria collapse 4-0 against World Cup holders Portugal in an international friendly at Lisbon’s Jose Alvalade Stadium on Thursday. , PUNCH the reports
The Seleção das Quinas, as Portugal’s national team is called, was without Cristiano Ronaldo, but still had enough firepower to humiliate the Super Eagles in front of 50,000 spectators before traveling to Qatar for the World Cup which starts on Sunday.
Portugal started the game and immediately began to show their dominance, dictating the pace of the game.
Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix should have given the Europeans the lead in the opening five minutes after a fine pass from Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, but the forward missed and failed to connect with the ball allowing the Eagles’ defense to clear the ball.
Two minutes later, Fernandes almost scored for Portugal, but his shot missed by inches, despite Francis Uzoho being rooted to the spot.
A minute later, Portugal’s pressure paid off as the Manchester United midfielder opened the scoring to put the Euro 2016 champions ahead after nine minutes.
Diogo Dalot made a beautiful escape from the right wing and passed to his club teammate, who put the ball into an empty net.
Nigeria started to get into the game after going behind less than 10 minutes. Ajax’s Calvin Bassey beats three defenders but misses the opportunity to make the final pass without a teammate.
Portugal continued to torment the Eagles’ defense and almost got their second goal of the night just 14 minutes in when Uzoho beat Otavio’s curling shot.
Felix thought he had scored his first and Portugal’s second goal after a beautiful shot that narrowly missed the target.
Nigeria’s best chance of the game came in the 24th minute after a fine solo run by Joe Aribo, who sped down midfield and passed to Alex Iwobi but the Everton man’s final pass was blocked by Ruben Dias for Nigeria’s first corner. .
The three-time African champions almost punished the result from a corner, with Felix released for a counter-attack, but Bright Osayi-Samuel’s timely intervention forced the 23-year-old’s shot into the corner.
Portugal continued to pile on Jose Peseiro’s side and were rewarded after Osayi-Samuel was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty spot, Cyprus referee Chrysovalantis Theodorou pointing to the penalty spot.
Fernandes scored by sending Uzoho the wrong way to make it two goals for Portugal.
The midfielder almost got his hat-trick but was unable to send the ball into an empty net after rounding the Nigerian keeper.
Portugal pulled off a healthy half-time goal with Theodorou ending the first half.
With the second half about to start, Peseiro brought on the pair of Samuel Chukwueze and Frank Onyeka for Ademola Lookman and Wilfred Ndidi.
Fernandes would not have the chance to complete his hat-trick as coach Fernando Santos replaced Vitinha, while Dias and Bernardo Silva were also replaced by Raphael Guerreiro and Joao Mario.
The Eagles’ performance improved from their lackluster showing in the first 45 minutes as they were able to string some passes together and gain better control of the game.
After an improved performance in the second half, Nigeria had a chance to reduce the deficit after Osayi-Samuel was brought down in the penalty area, but Emmanuel Dennis missed from the spot as his shot was saved by Rui Patricio.
The Eagles were made to pay for their missed opportunity and conceded two goals in two minutes as substitutes Ramos and Ramio scored to add to Nigeria’s friendly misery.
This result means that Nigeria have yet to win in their last 14 friendlies.