While Ronaldo’s explosive interview earlier in the week dominated match preparations, Fernando Santos’ Portugal won in Lisbon as they warmed up for the World Cup. Before contracting gastroenteritis, the 37-year-old striker Ronaldo, vented his frustrations at Manchester United. He has fallen out of favour under new manager Erik ten Hag.
Nigeria, which missed qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 2006, was defeated in just nine minutes.
An excellent ball from Joao Felix was raced on by two of Ronaldo’s Manchester United teammates, with Diogo Dalot setting up Fernandes to finish.
Atletico Madrid’s Felix, who is frequently benched, was in excellent form to make sure Ronaldo was not overlooked. Fernandes took over the captain’s penalty responsibilities to score his second goal before halftime.
Earlier in the week, a tense altercation between Ronaldo and Fernandes in the locker room grabbed headlines. But it was the midfielder who stepped forward to command attention against Nigeria.
Just before the halftime, Fernandes missed an excellent opportunity to clinch a hat-trick in the first half by shooting wide.
Ronaldo, who established a record for appearances for his nation and holds the record for most goals scored by a man in men’s international competition with 191. He will be back for Portugal’s World Cup opening against Ghana on November 24. But the team won over fans without him before they left for Qatar.
After a Dalot shove just inside the area was called for a penalty in the 81st minute. Nigeria had a chance to tie the game again, but Rui Patricio saved Emmanuel Dennis’ penalty.
A minute later, Goncalo Ramos of Benfica and Portugal’s debutant Raphael Guerreiro added a third goal by tapping in from the latter’s selfless cutback.