A late double from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Portugal came back from a 1-0 deficit to record a win over Egypt on Friday.
Portugal were the more ambitious of the two sides as the game started. But, their lack of finishing touch saw Egypt still be level with them. And it was the Egyptians who took the lead, thanks to their key star Mohamed Salah, who seems to be placing no foot wrong this season.
As the match looked to be done and dusted, Cristiano Ronaldo rose to the occasion, literally, as two headed goals ensured the European champions came away with a 2-1 win – one they deserved on the basis of the amount of chances they created.
We take a closer look at how each starter fared for both Portugal and Egypt.
Beto – 5
Surprisingly preferred over Rui Patricio in goal, Beto did not have much to do. Would have loved a better test to showcase his skills. Should have moved quicker for Salah’s goal. Unlikely to hold his place for the next match.
Cedric Soares – 6.5
Put in a few good crosses in what was a decent outing for the Southampton man. Still, should lose his spot for the next friendly as Fernando Santos looks to rotate his squad.
Rolando – 7
Perhaps the only defender who can rest assured of starting against Netherlands. Rolando put in a brilliant shift at the back and his aerial prowess was there for all to see. Almost scored the opener if not for the offside flag and came close in the second half as well.
Bruno Alves – 6
The veteran started and while he did not do much of note, he hardly put a foot wrong during the match.
Raphael Guerreiro – 7
Guerreira showed little signs of lacking match fitness as he romped up and down the pitch with aplomb. Came precariously close to equalizing the score in the second half with a fizzling volley from the edge of the box. A good outing considering the lack of game time leading up to the match.
Joao Moutinho – 6
A very average display by a player who needs to step up in order to remain as one of the automatic starters under Fernando Santos, especially considering the array of talent the manager has in his position.
Ruben Neves – 6
Was as subdued as his experienced partner in central midfield. Needs to step up.
Bernardo Silva – 6.5
One of the players who was constantly on the move, in the thick of things and trying to attack every chance he got. Was also put in charge of corners, which were threatening. A very good display.
Joao Mario – 6
One could say the entire Portuguese squad looked very out-of-form during the ninety minutes on the pitch. Joao Mario was no exception. A forgetful performance.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.5
Almost scored in the first half from a direct in-the-box free-kick if not for the last-minute block. Had a few other attempts but nothing seemed to be sticking for the Real Madrid talisman before stoppage time. Come stoppage time, the Portuguese showed just why it is so dangerous to count him and Portugal out as two quick headers saw him turn the match on its head.
A true match-winner.
Andre Silva – 6
Expected much much better from the AC Milan striker. But, he has been having a forgetful season at club level as well and things are not looking too bright at the international level either. In danger of losing his spot for the next match against Netherlands.
Mohamed El Shenawy – 6
Did a lot of things well, making some important saves. But, then it was all undone as Cristiano Ronaldo broke through in the ending umbers of the match. Could have done a lot better for the first goal while the second goal was just a world-class header.
Ahmed Fathy – 6
Was very good in his forward forays, with his penetrating crosses posing a great deal of danger for Portugal. Almost gave away a goal in the first half with a back-pass to his goalkeeper, which El Shenawy picked up, resulting in a direct free-kick inside the box. Would have also liked to curb the balls from the right in the second half.
Ahmed Hegazy – 6.5
Went about his job of controlling Ronaldo and Andre Silva well. Could not do much in the two late goals, though. Would be gutted after an almost impeccable 90 minutes of football.
Ali Gabr – 6.5
Same as Hegazy, the duo took the game to the Portuguese attackers and came out on top more often than not. Alas! The two late goals rained on their parade.
Mohamed Abdelshafi – 6.5
The entire Egyptian defence was good throughout the ninety minutes. On the left though, Egypt looked more secure thanks to Abdelshafi, who focused more on the defensive aspect than romp ahead.
Mohamed Elneny – 7
While he did not certainly boss the midfield, Elneny and his partner were more visible in the game compared to Portugal’s midfield pairing. Did link with his teammates well.
Tarek Hamed – 6.5
Hamed went about his job well – his duty being to curb the Portugal domination and to sweep off the stray balls in midfield. Will be key to Egypt’s fortunes in the World Cup.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Was continuously trying shots and passes to set up his teammates. Opened the scoring with a well-placed shot that Beto could have done better on, but the ball was still perfectly placed by the Liverpool man, whose golden form is showing no signs of any incoming halt.
Abdallah Said – 6
Said was decent throughout but lacked the decisive pass in the final third, one of the requisites from a number 10.
Trezequet – 7
Could be one of the players to watch out for in the World Cup. The player uses his pace well and his crosses are better than many other wingers. A very intriguing prospect and one that could win Egypt some games, if utilised properly.
Ahmed Hassan – 6.5
His movement was good, but that’s about it. Much of his lack of involvement can be chalked down to a rather regressive approach or perhaps, with almost all of the attacks flowing through Trezequet and Salah. Still, can be a nuisance up top to distract the defenders from the explosive wide players.