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Cristiano Ronaldo's comeback falls flat upon international return as Portugal are held

The Juventus star returned to action on Friday, but he could not inspire Portugal to victory against Ukraine.

Cristiano Ronaldo was frustrated on his Portugal return
Cristiano Ronaldo was frustrated on his Portugal return

CRISTIANO RONALDO WAS frustrated on his return to international duty as Portugal were held to a 0-0 draw by Ukraine in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.

Having not featured for Portugal since their defeat to Uruguay at World Cup 2018, Ronaldo was back for Friday’s encounter in Lisbon, but failed to inspire a victory as the Euro 2016 champions began their Group B campaign on a flat note.

Andriy Pyatov played a key part in frustrating the hosts, twice denying Ronaldo in the first half before pulling off an exceptional save from Andre Silva.

And Pyatov’s heroics paid dividends as Ukraine held firm to secure a hard-fought point, with the onus now on Portugal to respond when they face Group B’s other big hitters Serbia on Monday.

Pyatov did well to tip over Pepe’s blistering effort, though Ukraine’s goalkeeper was fortunate that the offside flag sparred his blushes moments later after his failure to deal with a cross allowed William Carvalho to head in.

Euro 2020 - Portugal vs Ukraine Ronaldo could not help his side find a breakthrough on Friday night against Ukraine. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Pyatov atoned soon after, twice reacting sharply to keep out successive close-range strikes from Ronaldo and maintain parity heading into the interval.

Ronaldo turned provider with a neat knockdown following the restart, but Andre Silva’s resulting effort did not test Pyatov.

The Sevilla forward did better when his next chance came, only for Pyatov to make a superb save at full stretch.

Portugal were almost made to pay for their profligacy with four minutes remaining, but Ruben Dias made a vital block to prevent Junior Moraes clinching the points for Ukraine against the run of play.

Vitaliy Mykolenko risked undoing Ukraine’s work in stoppage time when he clumsily bundled into Dyego Sousa, though Portugal’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

Murray Kinsella and Andy Dunne dissect Ireland’s disappointing Six Nations campaign, and discuss the pros and cons of rugby’s new law proposals in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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