PORTO, Portugal — Nani seized the limelight in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence with two goals as Portugal beat Gibraltar 5-0 in its first match as European champion on Thursday.
The friendly in Porto was also Gibraltar’s first game since gaining membership of world football’s governing body, FIFA, in May ahead of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
And the tiny British overseas territory managed to restrict the sixth-ranked Portuguese to scoring just once in the first half, with Nani netting from Bruno Alves’ corner in the 27th minute.
The Valencia winger was on target again 10 minutes into the second half with a header but it took Portugal until the 73rd to start to build a commanding score. Within six minutes, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, and Pepe all scored to put the game beyond sight for Gibraltar.
The friendly against modest opposition in Porto was a far cry from the nervy night two months earlier when Portugal beat France in the European Championship final to collect its first major trophy.
Ronaldo was forced off injured that July night in Paris and remained sidelined for this warmup game ahead of World Cup qualifying starting on Tuesday against Switzerland.