Cristiano Ronaldo failed to make it count for Portugal in their final group clash against Spain in the UEFA Nations League. Spain went into the game realizing that they had little room for error, as they needed to beat Portugal to secure a slot in the semi-finals of the competition.
It required a late goal from Alvaro Morata, but the Spaniards made it happen, while Ronaldo and his teammates slumped to defeat.
The first half began with an early chance for the Selecao, but they were unable to open the scoring, eventually relenting possession to their counterparts.
The visitors enjoyed a remarkable 81% possession by the 13th minute of the game, with the hosts struggling to keep the ball for long. However, it was all for naught as they could not get ahead with their time on the ball.
A constant back-and-forth ensued from both sides, with each seeking out a pathway into the final third to secure all three points. Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo had a number of chances to create a remarkable opening to the scoreline.
However, Unai Simon had no intention of letting them pass through. The goalkeeper remained efficient for the Spaniards throughout the game, impressively keeping shots out to secure his goal.
By the half-time whistle, Spain had enjoyed the lion's share of the possession, but little else. Portugal had found loopholes in La Roja's defense but failed to find the clinical edge to put themselves ahead.
Cristiano Ronaldo struggles to score for Portugal in the second half
The second half started as the first half had been, with the Selecao opening up their opponents' defense but taking their chances without much zest.
Diogo Jota did have a massive chance for the hosts, with the Liverpool forward getting past his markers before lashing a shot at goal. However, Unai Simon continued to keep them out of the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo also had a number of remarkable chances, but the Manchester United forward struggled to get the shot off as he was quickly closed down by Spain's defenders. He did eventually manage to get a shot off, but Unai Simon was on hand to stop the 37-year-old.
Spain finally opened the scoring late in the game with 88 minutes on the clock, with Alvaro Morata securing the three points for La Roja.
The Spaniards switched to a more direct game, and the unsuspecting Portugal defense did not track a long pass to Nico Williams at the far post. The 20-year-old headed it into an unmarked Morata in the six-yard area, and the striker finished with aplomb.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a number of other chances late in the game, but he failed to secure the required goal for Portugal, with Unai Simon maintaining a strong wall of defense. Eventually, the Portuguese had to make do with the loss, conceding their place in the semi-finals to Spain.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the Selecao's loss:
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