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

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