Sports Desk, Jun 2 (EFE).- Spain conceded a late equalizer Thursday and had to share the points with Portugal in the 2022-2023 UEFA Nations League opener for both teams.
The result in Seville leaves the two Iberian sides tied for second in Group 2 of League A, the elite tier of the competition, behind the Czech Republic, who were 2-1 winners Thursday over Switzerland.
Portugal, the first to lift the Nations League trophy, and Spain – defeated by France in last year’s final – are both expected to reach the later stages of the third edition of the tournament.
While Spain coach Luis Enrique had to do without the injured Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia, and Thiago Alcantara, Portugal’s Fernando Santos surprised everyone by starting the match with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.
The hosts went ahead in the 25th minute with a goal from Alvaro Morata.
Portugal showed more ambition in the second half and Rafael Leao forced Spain keeper Unai Simon into action at the hour mark, yet La Roja still lead going into the final 10 minutes.
The introduction of Ronaldo in the 62nd minute failed to move the needle, but another sub, Ricardo Horta, brought the visitors level with eight minutes left in regulation.
Jordi Alba had a chance to grab all 3 points for Spain in the 87th, only to send his header wide.
In Prague, Jan Kuchta gave the Czechs the lead in the 11th minute, exploiting a defensive error by Switzerland to post his first international goal.
Noah Okafor made it 1-1 just before the break and Vladimir Coufal hit the post for the home side early in the second half before the Czechs regained the edge in the 58th minute as a Jakub Jankto cross took a deflection off Swiss midfielder Djibril Sow, who was charged with an own goal.