December 10, 2023

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes grabbed a brace for Portugal as the former European champions whipped Nigeria’s Super Eagles 4-0 in an international friendly match on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that it was a poor showing on the night from the Super Eagles.

They did not offer much of a test to their World Cup-bound opponents in the match played at Lisbon’s Estadio José Alvalade.

Fernando Santos’ men started on the front foot as team captain Fernandes opened scoring for the hosts as early as in the eighth minute.

This was after João Félix lifted a lovely ball for Diogo Dalot, who found himself suddenly behind the Nigerian defenceline.

With his Portugal teammates lining up for his pass, Dalot showed excellent composure to slip the ball across goal for Fernandes to tap in with ease.

Fernandes grabbed his brace in the 38th minute from the penalty kick spot as he fired low into the right-hand corner past a static goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.

This was after Bernardo Silva’s cross from the left into the box had bounced off the flailing arm of Bright Samuel.

However, the Super Eagles improved in the second half and could have reduced the deficit in the 81st minute.

This was after Dalot shoved over Samuel just inside the Portuguese vital area, and the Cypriot referee had no choice but to award a penalty kick.

But substitute Emmanuel Dennis, who had come on for Moses Simon five minutes earlier, took a pretty weak kick which goalkeeper Rui Patrício pushed against the upright to save.

The Super Eagles were made to rue the missed opportunity almost immediately as Gonçalo Ramos scored barely 20 seconds later to grab a debut goal.

This was after Raphael Guerreiro found himself in an acre of space on the left-hand side of the Nigerian area.

He had a couple of teammates queuing for a tap-in, but decided to pass to debutant Ramos who tapped home from six yards.

João Mário added a fourth two minutes later to complete a four-goal rout for Portugal.

This was after Félix collected the ball in space on the left of the box and cut it back across goal to the back post, where Mário side-footed it into the net.

The result was cheering news for Fernando Santos’ men who came into the game having lost two of their three previous games.

In their last game, played in September, they were beaten by Spain, with Álvaro Morata’s late winner sending the Spaniards into the UEFA Nations League finals.

Portugal had also lost 0-1 to Switzerland in the Nations League in June.

Nigeria’s recent results have not been wonderful, either.

The Super Eagles, who missed out on a World Cup place when they lost a playoff to Ghana in March, have been beaten in three of their last four games in all competitions.

Most recently, the Super Eagles suffered friendly match defeats to Algeria in September and Costa Rica this month.

The loss to Los Ticos was Nigeria’s 12th straight friendly without victory, and the fifth friendly in a row they have lost.

Their March 2019 victory, a 1-0 win over Egypt, was the last time Nigeria came out on top in such a clash.

Competing at their sixth World Cup in a row, Portugal have been drawn in Group H with Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay.

They will get their tournament underway on Nov. 24, when they face the Ghanaians at Stadium 974.

After facing Ghana, they will take on Uruguay four days later, before finishing their group stage campaign against South Korea on December 2

Since making it to the semi-finals in 2006, Portugal have had three underwhelming World Cup campaigns.

These were after last-16 exits in 2010 and 2018, either side of a group stage elimination in 2014.

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