By Boyega Johnson
Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty as Portugal suffered a demoralising friendly defeat to Bulgaria in Leiria on Friday.
Ronaldo spurned the chance to level from the spot in the second half – his fourth miss from 12 yards for club and country this season – as the Portuguese were beaten by Marcelinho’s first-half strike.
The visitors, who failed to qualify for Euro 2016, were grateful to goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov for their success.
Stoyanov made three good early saves to repel Portuguese attacks – twice from Cristiano Ronaldo and once from Nani – and the goalkeeper’s efforts were not in vain.
Marcelinho gave Bulgaria the lead in the 19th minute. The striker wriggled free of the attentions of Pepe and squeezed the ball home past Lopes in the home goal.
Stoyanov made a further stop from Ronaldo to keep his team in front at half-time and continued his heroics after the break.
In the 66th minute, Portugal were awarded a spot-kick by referee Carlos Clos Gomez, who adjudged Nikolay Bodurov to have handled Pepe’s cross, and home captain Ronaldo stepped up from 12 yards.
However, the Real Madrid man could not beat Stoyanov once again, as the keeper saved low to his left and Ronaldo miscued the rebound.
And the Bulgarian again came to his country’s rescue with three minutes remaining, saving a close-range header from the Portugal skipper, before Eder wasted a golden opportunity in additional time.
This post has already been read 553 times!