Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Portugal’s poor run of form continued Wednesday in Guimarães with a 3-2 loss to Ecuador. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant goal in the 23rd minute and was the best Portuguese player, but the Seleção was undone by a very poor defensive display.

Manager Paulo Bento fielded a typical starting XI, with a few exceptions. Eduardo started in net in place of established number one Rui Patricio. And Zenit’s new signing Luis Neto started the match alongside new teammate Bruno Alves, in place of the injured Pepe.

Portugal starting brightly in the first minute of play with a good chance by Helder Postiga. But a minute later goalkeeper Eduardo woefully misread a cross into the box that Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia easily capitalized on. This was a sign of things to come.

Portugal responded well with some dangerous attacks lead by Cristiano Ronaldo. They were rewarded in the 23rd minute with some clever passing that resulted in a brilliant goal by the Portuguese captain. But Portugal’s defense look noticably vulnerable throughout the first half.

After going into half-time tied at one, Portugal raised the pressure on Ecuador. In the 60th minute, Nani delivered a pass to Postiga in the box that gave Portugal the lead. But the momentum was very shortlived. A minute later right-back João Pereira brutally mismanaged a ball in the defensive zone which resulted in one of the most absurd own goals ever seen.

Now tied at two, Bento subbed Postiga and Ronaldo, and that seemed to put an end to the Portuguese attack. Former Sporting Lisbon player Felipe Caicedo, who now plays in Russia scored in the 70th minute to win it for Ecuador.

After the match Paulo Bento was asked to explain the team’s performance. “We should have scored right at the beginning of the match, but they managed to score right after that. At the beginning of the second half, we started well, went ahead and then we had the misfortune of an own goal. At 2-2, things became more difficult which resulted in the third goal by Ecuador. We played a good game with some errors,” Bento said.

Bento added that he did not blame the defensive frailties on a lapse of concentration and added that there we positives to the match for Portugal. He added that this game will not take the pressure off the team. Portugal will play two very important World Cup qualifying games against Israel and Azerbaijan at the end of March.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Goal Against Ecuador On Wednesday

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