Romelu Lukaku heads home cross from brother Jordan after Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani strike for hosts
- Belgium, who are No 1 in the FIFA world rankings, gave fringe players a chance to stake a claim for Euro 2016
- Injuries stripped them of Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Christian Benteke
- Makeshift Belgian defence struggled to deal with the attacking threat of Cristiano ronaldo and Nani
- The friendly was switched to Leiria in Portugal following the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week
- Belgium warmed up in grey tops with ‘In memory of all victims’ on the front and wore black armbands
The result will read 2-1 to Portugal but that only tells half the story. This was also about football winning and evil losing, as the game that almost didn’t happen did.
It ended in defeat but this was a defiant display as Belgium played for the first time since last week’s atrocities in Brussels.
Former Manchester United duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani got a goal each for Portugal before Everton striker Romelu Lukaku gave Belgium something to cheer about after a week from hell.
Former Manchester United winger Nani opened the scoring in the 20th minute for Portugal against Belgium
Cristiano Ronaldo with trademark celebration after doubling Portugal’s lead with a 40th minute header
Makeshift Belgian defence struggled to deal with the attacking threat of Portgual duo Ronaldo and Nani
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Danilo Pereira (Danny 87),Joao Mario (Bernardo Silva 46), Adrien Silva (Renato Sanches 46), Andre Gomes (William Carvalho 74),Nani (Eder 60), Ronaldo (Quaresma 60).
Subs Not Used: Lopes,Bruno Alves, Carvalho, Vieirinha, Rafa, Eliseu, Eduardo.
Booked: Danilo Pereira.
Goals: Nani 20,Ronaldo 40.
Belgium: Courtois, Guillaume Gillet (Jordan Lukaku 59), Denayer (Boyata 86),Vermaelen, Lombaerts, Witsel, Nainggolan, Fellaini (Dembele 79), Chadli, Romelu Lukaku, Mertens (Batshuayi 67).
Subs Not Used: Mignolet, Mirallas, Engels, Hazard, Jean-Francois Gillet.
Goals: Romelu Lukaku 62.
Ref: Stephan Klossner (Switzerland).
They knew the show must go on and, even if it didn’t at the King Baudouin Stadium in the Belgian capital, it did here.
The venue was the Estadio Dr Magalhaes Pessoa in Leiria but, for the evening, this pocket of Portugal felt like Belgium with its black, yellow and red flags and songs.
There was Belgian grieving, Belgian remembrance, Belgian defiance – all without barely a Belgian here after the late stadium switch saw no tickets made available for the visitors.
To Portugal’s credit, their players didn’t patronise their opponents.
Belgium are ranked No 1 in the world but, without Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Benteke, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and more due to injury, Portugal took advantage.
The usual screams from supporters met every touch by Ronaldo but it was a different former player from Old Trafford who opened the scoring.
Nani beat the offside trap in the 20th minute before doing the same to Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to make it 1-0.
Soon after, though, Ronaldo got his goal after meeting a cross by Joao Mario in the 40th minute. The defence had deserted Courtois and all the man from Real Madrid had to do was pick his corner. He did so, celebrated with his trademark pose, and the Portuguese supporters ate it up.
Manchester United sent scouts to this match to watch Benfica 18-year-old Renato Sanches and they got to see him in the second half as he came on as a substitute.
Another starlet who was thrown on was Belgium’s Jordan Lukaku, the 21-year-old brother of Romelu. Yet it was the Everton man who made his presence felt, as his header in the 62nd minute got them back into the game.
Belgium were brave in making sure this game went ahead and their players were as courageous on the pitch but it wasn’t to be, as Portugal held on to tilt this international friendly in their favour.
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, right, celebrates scoring with brother Jordan, who whipped in the cross for the goal
The Real Madrid ace was in fine form ahead of Saturday’s El Clasico and played an hour of the friendly before being replaced
Portugal midfielder Andre Gomes (left) tangles with Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini during Tuesday’s friendly match
There was still plenty of passion on show by the players as displayed by Portugal’s Danilo Pereira and Mousa Dembele (right)
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, 2nd left, and his team-mates applaud the Portugal fans after the final whistle
The players pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week by observing a minute’s silence
No tickets were made available to Belgium fans due to the late switch so Portuguese supporters showed their support to the visitors
Belgium warmed up in grey tops with ‘In memory of all victims’ on the front in tribute to victims of Brussels attacks last week
Source: Daily Mail