Enthusiasm also makes a difference in football. And more so in an appointment of a tertiary competition match such as the League of Nations, planted at this end of the year for which the players have had to reconnect after a week of vacation. There was more heat than fine play in the Iberian derby, which ended in a draw because Spain did not close the match in the areas. Neither to increase the advantage that Morata’s goal gave him, nor to avoid Portugal’s last minute. He had chances to win, but he also gave them up to lose. Spain had good stretches, but also gaps that ended up being paid for.
Unai Simón, Pau Torres, Llorente, Alba, Azpilicueta, Gavi (Marcos Llorente, min. 80), Carlos Soler (Koke, min. 62), Busquets, Ferrán Torres (Dani Olmo, min. 62), Sarabia and Morata (De Thomas, minute 69)
Diogo Costa, Raphael Guerreiro, Pepe, Danilo Pereira, Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Moutinho (Ruben Neves, min. 45), Bruno Fernandes (Matheus, min. 80), Rafael Leao (Horta, min. 71), André Silva (Gonçalo Guedes, min. 61) and Otavinho (Cristiano, min. 61)
goals 1-0 min. 24: Bruise. 1-1 min. 81: Horta.
Yellow cards Sarabia (min. 35), Moutinho (min. 37), Bernardo Silva (min. 38), Llorente (min. 71), Matheus (min. 82), Raphael Guerreiro (min. 88), Busquets (min. 91) and Pepe (min. 92)
It was no coincidence that the most decisive and agitating Luis Enrique footballers during the hour of play that coincided on the pitch were Gavi, Soler, Sarabia and Morata. Two meritorious the first, on the exit ramp to higher levels, who had a fireworks test as escorts of Busquets. Opposite they had a trio of bone, profession and football, like Moutinho, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. Sarabia and Morata are two task players who find in the selection the prize for their perseverance. A pair of club football nomads who find strong identity ties in La Roja.
The duel was too far removed from the World Cup event in Qatar, but with Luis Enrique there is no truce. Nor did the rival invite it. Although with Cristiano Ronaldo as a subordinate on the bench, Portugal is one of those teams full of good players and a coach with meridian plans who is looking for a way to consolidate the step forward that he has taken with respect to more conservative versions.
Spanish and Portuguese went to look for each other in the areas and they canceled each other from the start. Spain could not find a good pass and put the game to sleep with a slow exit. Portugal also did not find a neat path to approach Unai Simón. Due to the holiday break, both teams seemed to suffer from a lack of fuel as well as from precise and sharp feet to break up the game. In Portugal, the vigorous Leão showed his powerful change of pace to Azpilicueta a couple of times. And he was able to score when Guerreiro tunneled the Navarrese side and left him for a frank execution in which he had as much strength as he lacked tact. The imposing bodywork of the Milan winger points to a stunning footballer if he synchronizes it with more finesse in the final blows.
Portugal forgave, but not Spain, who knew how to exploit the spaces in a manual transition after a robbery by Gavi. There was a lot of green to go through and the boy, with his head high and his tongue pressing on his cheek, took off running. Morata and Sarabia accompanied him. The first jumped to let Gavi’s pass pass and head to the area, where Sarabia’s fine and precise touch was waiting for him to push the ball. That manufacture of the counterattack was played many times by Neymar, Suárez and Messi in Luis Enrique’s Barça, who celebrated the goal as swollen as it was admired by the beautiful and meteoric sequence.
The goal gave way to a more precise and intoned Spain under the teaching of Busquets and the ease of Gavi and Soler. The Barça midfielder has something that engages the fans. His youthful vigor for the clash infuriates the staff and the way he turns that shows his mastery of spaces lifts him out of the seats. The two appeared in the area and Soler had the second goal in a double occasion only against Diogo Costa. He did not finish, but like Gavi, he fulfilled that mission of coming from behind that Luis Enrique demands so much of the interiors.
Spain did not finish off Portugal and had to deal with an open second act. He commanded the selection of Luis Enrique, but he played with the threat of the gaps that André Silva, Otávio and Leão began to discover behind the back of the advanced Spanish defense. Leão had the tie after one of those bleedings in which he took the ball from left to right. He cut Azpilicueta and the goal was clouded with Unai Simón’s bilge. Then the game broke out. Enthroned and with the periscope sharpened, Gavi put another run ball to Morata, to whom his soft touch to cross it missed by a couple of feet.
Another wasted ultimate bullet that triggered Portugal’s survival. With the advantage of the goal, Spain became absorbed while Portugal rearmed itself with Guedes and Cristiano. La Roja was infected by the Olés in the stands, as if the game no longer had a script and he again neglected his left flank. Cancelo burst it and his low center pushed it at Horta’s pleasure with ten minutes to play. Alba had the victory in a rebound that he headed with Diogo Costa’s goal uncovered to culminate that enthusiasm of the Red team that did not find a prize.