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Zero in endurance test: Morata leaves Spain with victory

Friendly match on Friday

No goals were scored in what was probably the most high-profile test match of the European Championship preparation. The last two European champions Spain and Portugal left the accelerator unpressed for a long time in their direct encounter.

A match that sounded like a European Championship knockout round initially felt like a knockout match: Both teams shied away from risk and hardly ever created any tempo. Spain initially did more for the game, but were hardly dangerous in the front third. The host’s defence, led by debutant Laporte, was not challenged much either. The Manchester City centre-back, who made his first appearance for Spain after being naturalised in May, had little trouble keeping Portugal captain Ronaldo at bay with his sidekick Pau.

The result was a relatively uneventful game in which the defensive lines dominated. A header by Fonte (23rd), rightly whistled for a foul on the striker, was the only real excitement of the first period, in which both teams otherwise failed to get beyond a harmless header by Ferran Torres on one side (27th) and a chance product by Ronaldo on the other (37th).

More action in second half: Morata only hits the crossbar

After the break, both teams shifted up a gear and the offensive actions became more determined and purposeful. Morata (55th) and Sarabia (58th) had two decent chances for Spain, while Diogo Jota (60th) and Ronaldo (70th) missed with their heads.

The Spaniards were closer to the winning goal and had more of the game – and several very good chances in the final phase: Morata missed a Gaya cross in front of the empty goal by a hair’s breadth (81st), Rui Patricio saved a Koke free-kick (88th). In stoppage time, Morata had by far the best chance of the game, but the striker only hit the crossbar when free in front of Rui Patricio (90.+1). Germany’s opponents Portugal, still without the three ManCity professionals Cancelo, Dias and Bernardo Silva, were better off with a draw in the final phase.