Portugal held by Ukraine on Ronaldo's return

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, tries to head the ball during the Euro 2020 group B qualifying soccer match between Portugal and Ukraine at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Friday, March 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Cristiano Ronaldo's return wasn't enough to give Portugal more than a 0-0 home draw against Ukraine in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship

LISBON, Portugal — Cristiano Ronaldo's return wasn't enough to give title-holder Portugal more than a 0-0 home draw against Ukraine in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship on Friday.

In his first international since the 2018 World Cup, Ronaldo threatened in attack but failed to break through Ukraine's solid defense at the Stadium of Light, with goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov making a few big saves to keep the hosts at bay.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said: "We had our chances and deserved to win."

In the other Group B match on Friday, Luxembourg defeated Lithuania 2-1.

Ronaldo hadn't played for Portugal since its elimination by Uruguay in the round of 16 at the World Cup in Russia.

Portugal has qualified for the semifinals of the inaugural Nations League, along with Switzerland, the Netherlands and England, and will host the finals in June.

The home team's first real chance on Friday came when William Carvalho's goal was disallowed for offside.

Ronaldo's first opportunity was in the 22nd minute with a low shot from inside the area saved by Pyatov. The goalkeeper denied him again five minutes later, diving to his right to deflect his low shot following a run inside the area.

Pyatov also made a difficult stop from a curling shot by forward Andre Silva early in the second half, and also thwarted defender Pepe.

Ukraine, which next season will play in the top tier of the Nations League, did not get past the group stage of Euro 2016 in France.

Ukraine visits Luxembourg on Monday, while Portugal hosts Serbia.


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

You may also like these

Copa Libertadores final postponed after Boca bus...

Nov 25, 2018

The Copa Libertadores final was postponed to Sunday after Boca Juniors players were injured when...

Messi returns to Argentina's national team for...

Mar 7, 2019

Lionel Messi returns to Argentina's national team for friendlies ahead of this year's Copa America

China hopes teenager could become first male...

Jan 27, 2017

In China, the women have enjoyed all the success in tennis, winning Grand Slam titles, Olympic gold...

Dual international Brad Thorn to coach Reds in...

Oct 5, 2017

Brad Thorn replaces Nick Styles as Queensland Reds Super Rugby coach

Jedinak stars as Australia qualifies for 2018...

Nov 15, 2017

Mile Jedinak stepped up when it counted most, propelling Australia into next year's World Cup with...

Sign up now!