Israel fell 4-0 to Portugal in a friendly matchup which was the final tuneup for Cristiano Ronaldo’s squad before the European Championships get underway later in the week.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes was the star of the show with a brace while Ronaldo didn’t disappoint with a strike of his own while Joao Cancelo also found the back of the goal for Coach Fernando Santos’s team. Eran Zahavi was the blue-and-white’s only player who was able to threaten Rui Patricio’s goal in Lisbon as the Wolverhampton Wolves keeper kept a clean sheet.
“I am very content that we had the opportunity to play the National Teams of Montenegro and Portugal which is a top of the world club,” Israel’s Head Coach Willi Ruttensteiner began. “I’m very proud of our National Team and the players themselves as they gave it their all. Portugal showed us what our limitations are and we expected that.”
“For a small nation it’s more difficult to handle the loss of some players, for example Shon Weissman and Munas Dabbur. But I did see in some circumstances where we were able to create some difficulties for Portugal and that we can defend well for a stretch of minutes. Everyone knows that e are not amongst the top five in world so the differences in the levels were clear.”
“It was a great to play against a team that plays at this level,” Israel Captain Bibras Natcho said. “This is a sort of trial to see how much we can get out ourselves. We saw that they are at the top of Europe. When you have to defend for the majority of the game it’s very hard to keep focus over the course of 45 minutes. They took advantage of their chances and they are in it to win it, that’s why they are top five in the world.”
Manor Solomon also reflected on the defat, “We started the game decently and we were able to keep the game goalless until the 40th minutes, Unfortunately, we gave up a pair of goals on a couple of mistakes and at this level you can’t give up those types of balls. We all knew that and that’s what ended up happening today.”
The Israel National Team visited Lisbon for a friendly against the reining European champions Portugal and superstar Cristian Ronaldo just ahead of the Euro 2020 that kickoff on Friday night when Turkey faces Italy in Rome. The tournament which was slated for last June was delayed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic sees the current World Champions France as the favorite for the competition which will be played in 11 different countries.
After defeating Montenegro 3-1 on Saturday night, blue-and-white head coach Willi Ruttensteiner’s starting lineup included many veterans including keeper Ofir Marciano, defenders Eli Dasa, Orel Dagani, Ofri Arad, Eitan Tibi and Sun Menachem. Captain Bibras Natcho manned the midfield along with Neta Lavi, Gadi Kinda and Manor Solomon while Eran Zahavi was the lone striker.
It took just under a minute for Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to take his first attempt of the game as he took on Eitan Tibi one-on-one, but his chance was easily taken by keeper Ofir Marciano while ten minutes later Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva sent Diogo Jota from Liverpool on his way but his opportunity went over the bar.
Portugal kept pressing as Jota’s 15th minute header missed the target while Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes took a Joao Cancelo ball that Marciano was able to parry away. Portugal kept sending wave after wave at the blue-and-white goal and finally broke through in the 42nd minute.
City’s Cancelo teamed up again with Bruno Fernandes as the midfielder sent the ball into the far corner of the goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. As halftime approached Portugal weren’t finished yet as this time Ronaldo found the back of the net as Fernandes fed the striker who beat Marciano with his left foot to take a 2-0 advantage into the break.
Israel looked to pull a goal back as the second half began as Manor Solomon worked his magic and got the ball to Eran Zahavi in the box but the Portugal defense was able to clear it from danger in the 56th minute. Zahavi tried his luck again a quarter hour later but missed the target by just centimeters as the ball went out.
Following wholesale changes by both teams, Cancelo sliced a perfect left footed stunner into the Israel goal after coming down the right flank and moving to the middle as Portugal went up 3-0 in the 86th minute.
As time ticked off the clock, the hosts once again found the back of the goal as United’s Fernandes scored his second of the game with a scorcher to hand Portugal a convincing 4-0 victory just ahead of the European Championships.