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France and Portugal in goalless stalemate

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    Reuters

Paris, France   /   Mon, October 12, 2020   /   09:07 am
France and Portugal in goalless stalemate UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 3 - Sweden v Portugal - Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden September 8, 2020 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring. (TT News Agency/Reuters/Janerik Henriksson )

France drew 0-0 at home to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday in a cagey clash between the world and European champions which largely failed to live up to its billing.

The teams could only manage one shot on target in the first half, a hopeful attempt by Antoine Griezmann from the tightest of angles which stung the hands of keeper Rui Patricio.

Cristiano Ronaldo came closest to scoring when he fired a left-footed strike at goal in added time but his deflected shot was well saved by France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Ronaldo also nearly scored in the first half but France defender Lucas Hernandez produced an excellent sliding block, while Ronaldo vented his frustration at team mate Joao Felix after the forward skewed wide as he met a cross which Ronaldo was waiting to turn into the net.

Portugal defender Pepe looked to have finally broken the deadlock late on when he placed a diving header in the net following a free kick but he was ruled offside.

This was the teams' first meeting since Portugal's extra-time win over France in the Euro 2016 final but the game could hardly have felt more different, with only nine players who started that showpiece game starting the match on Sunday.

Only 1,000 fans were let in to the 80,000-capacity Stade de France due to coronavirus restrictions and neither side played with much urgency, looking content enough to cancel each other out.