Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo stunned by late Serbia goal in World Cup qualifier

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LISBON, November 15:  After the final whistle, Cristiano Ronaldo sat on the field by himself, shaking his head and looking desolate.

Some teammates came over to console him. A few opponents did as well.

Portugal had just been stunned by Serbia at home in World Cup qualifying. The 36-year-old Ronaldo was suddenly in danger of missing out on what could be his last appearance at the tournament.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored in the 90th minute as Serbia came from behind to beat Portugal 2-1 on Sunday to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, sending Ronaldo’s team to the playoffs.

Mitrovic came off the bench to score the winner with a header after the Portugal defense failed to clear a cross into the area.

Ronaldo looked upset and complained with his teammates after the late goal that could keep him from making his fifth straight World Cup appearance.

Portugal will have to face the playoffs with the other nine group runners-up and two group winners from the UEFA Nations League. The 12 countries will play next March in three four-team brackets, with the seeded teams getting a home game in the bracket semifinals.

“It was a terrible match for us,” Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva said. “It’s hard to explain. We should have done a lot better. We have to apologize to our fans.”

The loss ended Portugal’s winning run in World Cup qualifiers at home dating back to 2013.



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