Gabon 2-2 Portugal
In what turned into quite a strange game, Portugal left the African continent with only a tie against Gabon. Pizzi and Hugo Almeida both scored for the Seleccao, but the team was unable to come away with a victory against their African opposition. Many November friendlies are rarely taken seriously. These friendlies are mainly concerned with testing new players into the national team setup, which may result in sub-par results. This, along with questionable refereeing, heat, and an uneven pitch, is what happened against Gabon.
The game started in a choppy fashion, with both teams attempting to find their feet. Gabon appeared to find theirs first, most likely due to being used to the heat and their home pitch. Only an inaccurate shot spared Portugal’s blushes in the 26th minute, as Gabon came extremely close to scoring. Gabon got their goal soon after, however. The ball was crossed in, and a clumsy tackle from Silvio brought down a Gabonese player, although the contact looked to be minimal. Nevertheless, the referee awarded a penalty, which Gabon slotted past Beto to make the score 1-0 in their favor, and stun Portugal. Portugal was stunned into action, and responded immediately. Eder was pulled down in the box, and the referee did not hesitate to award a penalty for Portugal, just two minutes after Gabon’s. Debutant Pizzi stepped up confidently, and easily slotted the ball past the Gabonese goalkeeper to level the scores. Not much more happened before halftime, and Portugal went into the locker room wondering what was happening.
Soon after the restart, Bruno Alves came close from a speculative long-range cross-shot, but nothing came of it. Portugal continued to press, and were rewarded on the hour mark. A neat one-two between Nelson and Varela left the former to square the ball to the wide-open Hugo Almeida, who tapped the ball into the empty net. But alas, Portugal’s woes were far from done. Gabon scored less than 10 minutes later, to level the scores at 2-2. From then on out, it was one-way Gabonese traffic, with the hosts controlling the flow of the game, as Portugal stepped off the gas due their large number of substitutions.
Beto, Nelson, Ricardo Costa, Pepe(Bruno Alves), Silvio, Custodio(Helder Barbosa), Joao Moutinho(Hugo Viana), Ruben Micael(Ruben Amorim), Varela(Paulo Machado), Pizzi, Eder(Hugo Almeida)