World Cup Football: Portugal friendly win clouded by Nani misery
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Last Updated: Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 00:04
Portugal friendly win clouded by Nani misery
Johannesburg: Portugal scored all their goals in the second half of a comfortable 3-0 World Cup warm-up victory over Mozambique at Wanderers Stadium.

But the result was the least of their concerns after star winger Nani was earlier ruled out of the tournament with a collarbone injury.

Russia-based Danny scored the first goal and created the second for Hugo Almeida from German club Werder Bremen, who also struck the third before a large crowd in cool, clear conditions.

The biggest cheer from spectators, who virtually filled the famous 30,000-seat cricket venue, was not for any of the goals, though, but the mid-second half introduction of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

A crowd consisting mainly of Portuguese-origin South Africans went wild and the darling of Real Madrid did not let them down with his every touch drawing huge applause.
It was the most convincing warm-up win for Portugal after a goalless draw against minnows Cape Verde Islands and a 3-1 triumph over fellow qualifiers Cameroon in another home fixture.

The emphasis on African opposition signals the importance coach and former Manchester United manager Carlos Queiroz places on their opening Group G fixture on June 15 against Didier Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast.

Whoever wins the Port Elizabeth clash will have a huge advantage over their rivals in the race for a second-round place from a mini-league completed by record five-time winners Brazil and 2000-1 rank outsiders North Korea.

Meanwhile, Danny said he was sad to hear that Manchester United star Nani, who hurt his shoulder in training, would miss out on the World Cup."We`ll miss him a lot. It`s sad as he`s a great player - he was coming off some fine form," Danny told a Portuguese television station.

Nani, four goals in 34 games for his country to date - including three during qualifying - suffered the injury on Friday and the 23-year-old will now be replaced by Ruben Amorim of Benfica.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 00:04

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