Portugal lack cutting edge without Ronaldo

Portugal forward sits out last night’s friendly with Greece due to thigh strain

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo shares a joke with teammates Fabio Coentrao and Pepe before their friendly against GreecePhoto: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo shares a joke with teammates Fabio Coentrao and Pepe before their friendly against GreecePhoto: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

 

Portugal, missing forward Cristiano Ronaldo because of a muscular pain in his left thigh, were held to a goalless draw by Greece in a pedestrian World Cup warm-up on Saturday night.

Portugal, also resting defender Pepe and midfielder Raul Meireles, had the better of the game and should have been ahead inside the first 10 minutes.

Eder headed Nani’s curling cross straight at Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis from close range in the second minute and Ricardo Costa was also foiled by Karnezis after he escaped his marker at a corner.

Greece struggled to create chances and a long range strike from Vassilis Torosidis was the sum of their efforts in a poor first half.

Striker Kostas Mitroglou was an isolated figure up front, where he was reduced to chasing down long balls.

Greece introduced veteran captain Giorgos Karagounis at half-time with Portugal bringing on experienced striker Hugo Almeida but neither player made an impact.

Greece threatened in the final 10 minutes after the introduction of winger Giannis Fetfatzidis whose direct running put the hosts on the back foot.

There was an injury worry for Greece after central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos limped off.

“In the first half, we clearly deserved to be ahead and, apart from the last few minutes when we were worn out, we always had control of the game,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento told RTP television. “We were penalised by our lack of efficiency.”

“We have to be prepared,” he added. “We have to be able to play without players who are our first choices.”

Portugal face Germany, United States and Ghana in their World Cup Group G while Greece meet Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan in Group C.

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