25 Mar 19
The Scottish Sun
PORTUGAL were robbed of a stonewall penalty and lost Cristiano Ronaldo to an injury to draw 1-1 with Serbia in Lisbon.
Danilo Pereira scored a worldie to cancel out Dusan Tadic’s penalty conversion, but the European champions failed to tip the scale in their on a frustrating Monday evening.
Cristiano Ronaldo had to be hauled off with a hamstring injury in the first half
Serbia are emerging as Europe’s biggest upset-makers as they annoyed Germany in last week’s draw in Wolfsburg.
And now Mladen Krstajic’s side stunned the European champions, leaving Estadio da Luz with a point in a promising kick-off to their Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Portugal end the international break on a less positive note, with two consecutive draws, after they were halted by Ukraine last week.
Dusan Tadic was emptying his bag of tricks, proving he has been in the form of his life – and converted a penalty to give his side a shocking lead.
But Portugal then went for the jugular and, despite losing Ronaldo to a hamstring injury, equalised through Pereira’s screamer.
However, a point is all Fernando Santos’ men got, despite dominating the ball throughout the game – with the referee Szymon Marciniak partly responsible for the disappointing result.
William Carvalho had a wonderful chance to give Portugal an early lead after Uros Spajic failed to kick the ball away from two yards out, but the Betis midfielder fluffed it and sent it just past the post.
Tadic, however, made no mistake from the spot after Rui Patricio blinked first in a one-on-one with Mijat Gacinovic.
He brought the Serbia midfielder to the ground with a rugby tackle – leaving the ref no choice but to award the visitors a penalty.
As Portugal cranked up the pressure, keeper Marko Dimitrovic put his fingertips on the ball to spectacularly save Rafa Silva’s close-range strike.
The hosts were repetitively whipping the ball into their rivals’ box, but just could not break Serbia’s defence with Nikola Milinkovic pulling off a crunch block to deny Ronaldo.
But when the Juve star limped off the pitch with a hamstring problem just after the half hour mark, Santos was facing a real head-scratcher.
Portugal, however, responded with style after Pereira glided past Serbia defenders and then scored a screamer from outside the box.
The ball smooched the bar before rattling the net and the hosts eventually got their well-earned equaliser before half-time.
Adem Ljajic had a glorious chance to put Serbia back in the driving seat, but sent the ball high over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
And Portugal somehow failed to take the lead after Serbia defenders blocked three close-range shots to eventually scramble the ball away.
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The referee then made a bizarre decision not to award the hosts a penalty after Andre Silva headed the ball, which then clearly struck Antonio Rukavina’s fully-stretched arm.
The official appeared to have pointed to the spot, but then changed his mind as booes rumbled through Estadio da Luz.
And a late flurry of last-gasp attacks came to nothing for the hosts, with Bernardo Silva sending the ball wide in injury time to seal the result.
Dusan Tadic converts the penalty to give Serbia a 1-0 lead
Ronaldo receives treatment from Portugal medics on the sidelines
Danilo Pereira celebrates after he scored a screamer to equalise for Portugal