Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was not shy in making his frustrations with manager Fernando Santos crystal clear, on the back of his side’s costly defeat at the hands of Serbia on Sunday evening.
Mitrovic makes the difference
Ronaldo and co. marked their return to action a short time ago.
In the nation’s eighth and final World Cup qualifier, A Selecao welcomed the aforementioned Serbia to Lisbon, for a highly-anticipated, and altogether crucial showdown.
Ahead of kick-off, Portugal, sitting pretty atop the Group A table, were aware that they required just a solitary point to be sure of a spot at next year’s Qatar showpiece.
When all was said and done, however, in one of the shocks of the qualification campaign thus far, Fernando Santos’ men failed to get the job done.
Despite taking the lead inside three minutes courtesy of Renato Sanches, the hosts were eventually put to the sword by two goals to one, as Dusan Tadic’s first-half equaliser was added to by Aleksandar Mitrovic at the death:
Aleksandar Mitrović scored an injury-time winner as Serbia leapfrogged Portugal to seal their place at the 2022 World Cup! 🇷🇸🔥 pic.twitter.com/EOod5NCYAR
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 14, 2021
In turn, on the back of the full-time whistle sounding at the Estadio da Luz on Sunday, it did not come as too much of a surprise to see a host of Portugal’s stars left looking altogether forlorn.
After coming within minutes of automatic qualification for international football’s grandest showpiece, A Selecao will now be forced to navigate their way through the treacherous playoff rounds.
Whilst the likes of Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes were spotted looking understandably shell-shocked, though, none of the hosts’ players appeared more legitimately devastated than talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner immediately dropped to the turf upon the realisation hitting home that his side had not secured their passage to Qatar, looking close to tears.
— European Qualifiers (@EURO2024) November 14, 2021
And one man with whom Ronaldo was evidently particularly frustrated on the night was manager Fernando Santos.
As showcased in the footage below, after being approached by his nation’s boss in the game’s aftermath, Portugal’s captain made his feelings crystal clear, hinting at tension in the camp in the process:
IMAGENS EXCLUSIVAS DA TNT SPORTS! O CLIMA ESQUENTOU! 👀😳 Cristiano falou poucas e boas pro técnico Fernando Santos depois do apito final contra a Sérvia… #EliminatóriasNaTNTSports pic.twitter.com/kZr1M48gFM
— TNT Sports Brasil (@TNTSportsBR) November 14, 2021