With fans in stands, Portugal draws with Spain in friendly

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — With fans back in the stands, Portugal and Spain drew 0-0 in a friendly on Wednesday.

Some 2,500 fans attended the match that served as a test for Portuguese authorities and soccer officials to evaluate the possibility of getting supporters back into stadiums amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portuguese federation filled 5% of the capacity of the José Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon. Fans were spread around the stadium and had to sit apart from each other.

About 5,000 fans will be allowed in for the national team’s Nations League match against Sweden at the same stadium next Wednesday, or 10% of the venue’s capacity.

The European Super Cup final between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in September in Budapest was the first UEFA match with fans amid the pandemic.

There had been high expectations surrounding the duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s teenage sensation Ansu Fati, but the 17-year-old Spaniard stayed on the bench throughout the match. Fati last month became the youngest player to score for Spain in the Nations League match against Ukraine.

The 35-year-old Ronaldo had one of the best scoring chances of the match in the 53rd minute, striking the crossbar with a powerful left-foot shot from inside the area. He also missed with a header from close range just before halftime.

In the 67th, Ronaldo set up a shot by Renato Sanchez that also hit the crossbar. Both Ronaldo’s and Sanchez’s shots bounced near the goal line after striking the woodwork.

Atlético Madrid forward João Félix, who replaced Ronaldo in the 73rd, nearly gave the hosts the win in stoppage time but whiffed a shot in front of the goal.

Spain coach Luis Enrique gave Adama Traoré his national team debut off the bench in the 62nd minute. The Wolverhampton forward had been called up for the matches against German and Ukraine but couldn’t play after testing positive for COVID-19.

Before the match, the Portuguese and the Spanish soccer federations signed an agreement to boost their joint bid for the 2030 World Cup, establishing common strategies and cooperation deals between the nations.

Spain hosts Switzerland on Saturday and visits Ukraine on Tuesday in the Nations League. Portugal visits France on Sunday in the Nations League, then hosts Sweden on Wednesday.

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