Tuesday. 05.07.2022
FOOTBALL

Late Horta strike means Spain-Portugal draw in Nations League opener

Cristiano Ronaldo was introduced just after the hour, but it was another substitute, Horta, who equalized
02 June 2022, Spain, Seville: Portugal's Ricardo Horta celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Nations League group B soccer match between Spain and Portugal at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/DAX via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Portugal's Ricardo Horta celebrates scoring his side's goal at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/dpa.

Ricardo Horta scored a late equalizer as Portugal and Spain opened their Nations League campaigns with a 1-1 draw on Thursday.

Spain were defeated in the final by France in last year's competition, but entered the 2022 edition after four straight wins.

Morata fired Spain into a first half lead as he became the joint-seventh highest scorer in La Roja's history with his 26th strike in all competitions.

Portugal offered little in response until Horta popped up with eight minutes remaining to steal a draw in the Group A2 opener.

02 June 2022, Spain, Seville: Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Nations League group B soccer match between Spain and Portugal at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/DAX via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring his side's goal at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/dpa.

Gavi whipped narrowly wide in the opening exchanges, while Rafael Leao – making his first start for Portugal – blasted over at the other end.

Morata opened the scoring after 23 minutes when Gavi surged forward to find Pablo Sarabia, who unselfishly squared for the forward to tap in.

Carlos Soler almost doubled Spain's lead shortly after, but was denied by Diogo Costa before blazing the rebound over, while Andre Silva drilled just wide of Unai Simon's right post.

Spain in control

Fernando Santos responded by sending on Ruben Neves at half-time, but the second half proceedings continued in similar vein, with Spain in control.

Leao spurned a presentable opportunity by firing into the onrushing Simons' legs, before Morata prodded wastefully wide in an attempt to chip Costa.

02 June 2022, Spain, Seville: Spain's Pablo Sarabia (R) and Portugal's Joao Cancelo battle for the ball during the UEFA Nations League group B soccer match between Spain and Portugal at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/DAX via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Spain's Pablo Sarabia (R) and Portugal's Joao Cancelo battle for the ball. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/dpa.

Cristiano Ronaldo was introduced just after the hour, but it was another substitute, Horta, who equalized as he converted Joao Cancelo's whipped cross, before Jordi Alba headed agonizingly wide with the goal gaping in the closing stages.

The draw allowed the Czech Republic to go to the top of the Group A2 thanks to a 2-1 win over Switzerland sealed by an own goal by Swiss midfielder Djibril Sow.

Late Horta strike means Spain-Portugal draw in Nations League opener
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