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Spain 1-1 Portugal: Player ratings as late Horta strike seals draw in Nations League opener

Tom Gott
Portugal secured a late draw
Portugal secured a late draw / CRISTINA QUICLER/GettyImages
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A late strike from Ricardo Horta rescued a point for Portugal as they secured yet another draw with Spain in Thursday's Nations League action.

Alvaro Morata tapped home in the first half to put Spain ahead, but Luis Enrique's side couldn't hold on as Horta followed suit with four minutes to go to secure a hard-fought point for the away side.

Predictably, Spain dominated possession early on, but it was Portugal who had the first real chance of the game. Some sloppy play from the Spanish back line ceded possession to the away side and Rafael Leao should have done significantly better with his strike from close range.

The opening goal came 25 minutes in as Morata tapped home to finish off a glorious counter-attack that was orchestrated by Gavi and found its way to the striker courtesy of a nice cut-back from Pablo Sarabia.

Carlos Soler should have had a second almost straight after. Gavi found the Valencia man's late run into the box but Diogo Costa kept out his first effort and watched the rebound soar over the bar.

Portugal nearly secured an equaliser through Andre Silva, who was starting in place of Cristiano Ronaldo. The RB Leipzig striker found a yard of space in the box but fired wide and failed to take advantage of some indecision from Spain stopper Unai Simon.

After the break, Simon had to be alert to keep out a nice strike from Leao, and Portugal opted to bring Ronaldo off the bench on the hour mark as they continued to push for an equaliser.

The Man Utd man didn't really change things, however, with Portugal throwing everything at Spain but failing to get through.

Then, from out of nowhere with ten minutes to go, Portugal got their equaliser through Horta, who tapped home Joao Cancelo's cross to mark his first appearance in seven years with a huge goal.

With just four minutes to go, Jordi Alba fluffed a glorious chance to win it. Costa's save looped up in the air and dropped invitingly for the left-back, whose header somehow went wide.

That was the closest either side came to a winner, with the two nations forced to settle for a point in their opening Nations League fixture.


Spain vs Portugal player ratings

1. Spain (4-3-3)

Pablo Martín Páez Gavira "Gavi"
Gavi was excellent / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

GK: Unai Simon -5/10 - Came flying off his line far too often but made an excellent save to deny Leao after the break.

RB: Cesar Azpilicueta - 4/10 - Shaky with the ball at his feet and didn't enjoy his battle with Leao.

CB: Diego Llorente - 6/10 - Very alright. Did a nice job of containing Andre Silva but was about as underwhelming in possession as any of Spain's defenders.

CB: Pau Torres - 6/10 - Probably a little more comfortable than Llorente but still a little uneasy at times.

LB: Jordi Alba - 5/10 - Did his best to get forward but did very little when he got there. Not convincing defensively either. Missed a superb chance in the dying embers.

DM: Sergio Busquets - 7/10 - Looks a different animal for his national team. Controlled possession excellently and did a great job of relieving pressure.

CM: Gavi - 8/10 - A massive threat going forwards. Some excellent runs and passes.

CM: Carlos Soler - 5/10 - Struggled up against Portugal's press. Seems to struggle when he's not given the space to work his magic.

RW: Ferran Torres - 4/10 - Really ineffective. Some sloppy touches and rarely looked like a danger.

ST: Alvaro Morata - 7/10 - Led the line very well, pressing high and putting himself around. Good composure for his simple finish.

LW: Pablo Sarabia - 6/10 - Held his own in attack. Didn't get too many opportunities to strut his stuff but did well when the ball came his way.

SUB: Koke (63' for Soler) - 6/10

SUB: Dani Olmo (63' for Torres) - 5/10

SUB: Raul de Tomas (70' for Morata) - 5/10

SUB: Marcos Llorente (81' for Gavi) - N/A

2. Portugal (4-3-3)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo began on the bench / CRISTINA QUICLER/GettyImages

GK: Diogo Costa - 4/10 - Really unconvincing. A few sloppy errors and a crucial slip for Morata's opener. Not the performance he would have wanted.

RB: Joao Cancelo - 6/10 - Rarely involved in attack but finally got his chance to whip in a cross for Horta's late equaliser.

CB: Pepe - 6/10 - Had a tough time up against Morata but did his best to make up for it with some nice passing.

CB: Danilo Pereira - 5/10 - Looked like a midfielder trying his hand in defence.

LB: Raphael Guerreiro - 7/10 - A massive threat going forwards and didn't have a lot of defensive work to do up against Torres.

DM: Joao Moutinho - 5/10 - Hooked at half-time after losing his head. Booked for a cynical foul and fortunate to avoid another yellow.

CM: Bruno Fernandes - 4/10 - The occasional nice pass but nowhere near the standard you'd expect from him. A passenger at times.

CM: Bernardo Silva - 5/10 - Lost his head at times in the first half as he struggled to find a way into the midfield battles. Booked for a few nasty first-half fouls.

RW: Otavio - 3/10 - Barely involved at all. Had a great chance to get the better of Alba but wasted it.

ST: Andre Silva - 5/10 - Had a tricky time of things against Llorente and Torres. Missed a great chance in the first half.

LW: Rafael Leao - 6/10 - Portugal's biggest threat in attack but wasteful in the final third. Should have scored early on.

SUB: Ruben Neves (46' for Moutinho) - 5/10

SUB: Cristiano Ronaldo (62' for Otavio) - 5/10

SUB: Goncalo Guedes (62' for Silva) - 5/10

SUB: Ricardo Horta (72' for Leao) - 6/10

SUB: Matheus Nunes (81' for Fernandes) - N/A

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