LISBON - Portugal had to settle for a 0-0 draw at home to Spain in a heavyweight friendly on Wednesday after hammering the crossbar twice and missing a last-gasp open goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit a hat-trick when the two sides met in a thrilling 2018 World Cup group stage game, almost gave the European champions the lead when he sent a shot crashing against the underside of the bar early in the second half.
Midfielder Renato Sanches went even closer moments later with a first-time shot at goal.
He also hit the bottom of the bar before running away to celebrate, only to see the ball bounce on the goalline without crossing it.
Portugal’s most glaring chance was still to come though, when Ruben Semedo headed a corner to the far post towards Joao Felix, who got the weakest of touches and somehow missed the target with the goal gaping in front of him.
Some 2,500 fans watched the game from inside Sporting’s Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, which was at 5% capacity, the first elite match in Portugal to allow spectators back in since the coronavirus pandemic began to disrupt world football in March.
Spain coach Luis Enrique fielded an experimental starting 11, leaving out captain Sergio Ramos and handing a first international start to 19-year-old central defender Eric Garcia while midfielders Dani Ceballos and Sergio Canales also made rare starts for the national team.
Adama Traore and Jose Campana came off the bench in the second half to make their Spain debuts.