Cristiano Ronaldo saved Portugal from a defeat to the Oranje as he scored the an 87th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
The Real Madrid winger’s late goal erupted the crowd at the Estadio Algarve on Wednesday night, and cancelled out Roma midfielder’s Kevin Strootman first-half opener.
Despite being stripped of the win, it was a good result for Louis Van Gaal’s side. Missing in action was Wesley Sneijder, who was recently stripped of the captaincy due to the coach’s concern over the Galatasaray man’s fitness.
Feyenoord defender Bruno Martins Indi was handed a start against the country of his birth, alongside a young defence of team-mate Stefan de Vrij, Ajax’s Daley Blind and Paul Verhaegh who plies his trade in Germany with Augsburg. Van Gaal started with a three man midfield of Strootman, Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart and PSV’s Georginio Wijnaldum. Up top, we saw the trio of Robin van Persie, Jeremain Lens and Arjen Robbin with goalkeeper Michel Vorm starting inbetween the sticks.
Portugal named a strong eleven, with Ronaldo leading the line alongside Danny and Helder Postiga and it was the Portuguese who created the first chance of the game inside the opening minutes. Ronaldo rose above everyone to nod a tame effort from a Ruben Amorim cross straight at Vorm.
The Oranje scored the opening goal on 17 minutes, new Dynamo Kiev winger Lens found his former PSV team-mate Strootman on the edge of the penalty box and he sent a low drive catching out goalkeeper Beto at his near post.
The hosts pressed for an equaliser and should have score on 29 minutes. Danny picked out Ruben Micael at the far post, only for the midfielder to direct his effort wide from ten yards.
In the second half, the Netherlands did little to trouble the Portuguese goal, and RVP, who was quiet throughout, found himself hauled off on the hour mark. In comparison, Ronaldo stole the show and was in a buoyant mood, and he was very nearly rewarded for his play after 63 minutes, hitting a long-range strike towards the goal, put Vorm saved well.
After midfielder Miguel Veloso hit the crossbar, it was Ronaldo again that came to the rescue. Three minutes to go, Dutch dreams of a win were crushed with Ronaldo finishing from close range colleting the ball from a deflected Veloso corner.
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