Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo injured in Portugal's draw with Serbia

AP

Portugal drew with Serbia 1-1 in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship on Monday, with Cristiano Ronaldo playing only half an hour before being substituted with a right leg injury.

In his second game with the national team since the World Cup, Ronaldo had to leave before halftime after pulling a muscle while sprinting to try to reach a long pass at the Stadium of Light.

Team doctors said Ronaldo will undergo tests, but the star forward was not too concerned.

“I’m not worried, I know my body,” Ronaldo told Portuguese media. “I should be back in one or two weeks.”

Serbia opened the scoring with a penalty kick converted by Dusan Tadic in the seventh minute, and Danilo Pereira equalized for the hosts with a powerful long-range shot before halftime.

The defending European champions loudly complained when the officiating crew reversed a 73rd-minute penalty call after Andre Silva’s header touched the hand of a defender inside the area. The referee appeared to signal the penalty but backtracked after talking with the linesman.

“It was a clear penalty,” said Ronaldo, who stayed to cheer from the bench for the rest of the match. “I had the chance to talk to the referee and he admitted that it was a mistake.”

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said Polish referee Szymon Marciniak also apologized to him after the match.

“We looked at the video and there was no doubt,” Santos said. “You can’t let someone who is 40 meters away make the call for you.”

In the other Group B match, Ukraine won at Luxembourg 2-1 to take the group lead by one point. Luxembourg stayed with three points, one more than Portugal. Serbia, with a game in hand, has one point.

Portugal had already been held by Ukraine to a home draw in its first qualifying match on Friday.

“The two draws are not favorable,” Santos said. “But this team has the talent and the quality to win the next two away matches.”

Ronaldo limped toward the sideline and signaled to the bench to request a substitution. He sat by the sideline and removed the captain’s armband before doctors arrived and treated what appeared to be his right hamstring.

Ronaldo, who had already been treated for a bleeding nose earlier in the match, walked back to the bench on his own after being replaced by Pizzi Fernandes.

Just like in the scoreless draw against Ukraine, Portugal created numerous scoring opportunities but failed to capitalize. Serbia goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic made several good saves to keep Portugal from finding the net early on.

Serbia also had its chances, with Tadic and Aleksandar Mitrovic constantly threatening in attack.

The visitors opened the scoring after Mijat Gacinovic was fouled by Portugal goalkeeper Patricio inside the area to prompt the penalty that Tadic calmly converted with a shot to the left corner as Patricio dived the other way.

Portugal continued being held by Dmitrovic’s saves until Pereira broke through with a spectacular long-range shot that curled into the net near the end of the first half.

Serbia visits Ukraine for its second qualifier on June 7, while Portugal returns to qualifying action on Sept. 7 with a game at Serbia.

England 5, Montenegro 1

In Podgorica, Montenegro, it should have been the night to celebrate the emergence of another prodigious teenage forward in the latest joyous display by Gareth Southgate’s young England team.

Instead, England’s win over Montenegro will most likely be remembered for apparent racist invective coming from the stands.

Starting a competitive international before he has even started an English Premier League game, 18-year-old Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi showed flashes of brilliance that have piqued Bayern Munich’s interest this season, and set up one goal from one of his mazy runs in a one-sided European Championship qualifier.

Yet he left the field in Podgorica as disillusioned with the game as he was happy to be the second youngest player — at 18 years, 138 days — to start a competitive match for England, after Wayne Rooney.

“Me and Rosey (England left-back Danny Rose) heard it, they were saying monkey stuff,” Hudson-Odoi said, mimicking the alleged chants to England’s black players. “We have to just keep our heads, a strong mentality.”

Southgate said he heard it, too.

“In this day and age, you are ashamed that it can happen,” the England manager said. “The joy of a young player, who has had such a fantastic game, to be overshadowed by that is hugely disappointing.”

Southgate said the English Football Association would be making an official complaint to UEFA.

“It’s not acceptable,” he said.

In one unsavory incident, Sterling cupped his ears after scoring England’s fifth goal and Montenegro fans responded with jeers before an object — reportedly a lighter — was thrown onto the field. It was picked up by Hudson-Odoi.

Sterling has been vocal about racism in recent weeks, highlighting what he perceived to be negative press coverage toward black players and saying there needed to be more done to combat it.

After the game in Montenegro, he posted a picture on Twitter of him cupping his ears.

“Best way to silence the haters (and yeah I mean racists),” Sterling wrote next to an emoji of a monkey and a hashtag saying “get some education.”

Hudson-Odoi said Sterling and Rose had spoken to him about racism in soccer.

“They’ve said, ‘Listen, in football you’re always going to get things like that. People are always going to be rude to you, say stuff you don’t want t to hear. It’s part of football,’ ” Hudson-Odoi said.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to block it out of your head, keep going. But at the same time, that should never happen in football. Everyone should be enjoying the game.”

The Fare network, UEFA’s anti-discrimination monitoring partner, had a delegate at the game and has been gathering evidence.