The reigning European champions succumbed to a second successive draw in the opening rounds of the 2020 UEFA Euro qualifiers.
Last Friday, Cristiano Ronaldo made his return to the Portuguese national team since requesting for a break to integrate himself at Juventus after an intense summer characterized by FIFA World Cup action and a nearly tumultuous exit from Real Madrid. The captain’s comeback, however, did not produce the match-winning scenario that Seleccao supporters were hoping for. A goalless draw and a point is what Fernando Santos and his men collected.
Bouncing back against Serbia on Monday proved to be another difficult mission to accomplish, especially as the country’s all-time leading goalscorer picked up a hamstring injury and had to limp off in the 31st minute of the game.
This hurts 💔💔💔
Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a hamstring injury vs Serbia. Lesionado. 😢
Will he be fit in time for the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie vs Ajax? pic.twitter.com/QPkqvsgwWq
— CRonaldoDaily.com (@BreatheRonaldo) March 25, 2019
Speaking about his recovery ahead of the UEFA Champions League Last 8 battle away to Ajax scheduled for April 10, Ronaldo was quick to reassure the fans of his fighting mentality.
“My injury? I’m not worried,” he said. “I know my body and in two weeks’ time, I’ll be ready to play again.”
Cristiano’s departure wasn’t the only inconvenience Portugal suffered. In the final part of the encounter, the referee awarded the Iberians a penalty for a Serbian handball only to waive the call shortly after discussing with the linesman.
Watch: the penalty confusion that cost Portugal dearly
Well well well. The referee gives a penalty, speaks with the linesman, changes his decision. Then, despite the ball going out off a Serbian player, gives them a goal-kick. Why on earth is VAR not used in all comps? pic.twitter.com/y1AP30cjJa
— Marino Peixoto (@MarinoPeixoto) March 25, 2019
This bizarre incident, which potentially cost the hosts two additional points to the single one they had to settle for, left skipper Ronaldo upset.
“The penalty was clear, if we have VAR in all other competitions why not here? If you understand football, you’ll see Portugal deserves to win both [UEFA Euro qualifying] games.”
Portugal are third in Group B behind Ukraine (4 points) and Luxembourg (3). The next competitive fixture is against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League on June 5 whilst the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign resumes with a clash in Serbia on September 7, as listed on our Portugal national team fixtures and results page.