Ronaldo fitness no concern, says coach Bento

Last Updated 23 June 2014, 11:03 IST

Portugal coach Paulo Bento denies Cristiano Ronaldo is still hampered by a knee injury despite his subdued performance in Sunday's 2-2 draw with the US.

The Real Madrid forward struggled for much of the match but provided the assist for Silvestre Varela's stoppage-time equaliser with a sumptuous cross, reports Xinhua.

"Clinically he was ok," Bento said at his post-match press conference at the Arena Amazonia stadium.  

"He played 90 minutes. I don't think there is a problem there. And I don't think that what happened in this match has anything to do with the condition of our players."

Sunday's result followed Portugal's 0-4 loss to Germany in their opening Group G match in Salvador June 16.

Bento's side now need to beat Ghana in Brasilia Thursday by a big margin to have any chance of progressing to the knockout phase.

"Our situation is extremely complex," the coach admitted. "Apart from depending on others, we are disadvantaged by our goal difference. We still have a chance and we have to try to exhaust all our possibilities and maintain our professionalism until the end."

Portugal started brightly in the sweltering Manaus heat when Manchester United midfielder Nani fired in from close range after a Geoff Cameron mistake.

 But the US equalised through Jermaine Jones curling strike and then took the lead when Clint Dempsey chested the ball in with only eight minutes left.

But Varela earned Portugal a point in the last minute when he rifled in a header after Ronaldo's sublime cross.

"When analyzing the game, we probably had more opportunities than they did," Bento said. "With better efficiency, we could have ended the match by halftime."

"We never truly lost control of the match. Given the conditions, both teams opted to defend deep and for that reason we sat back after scoring the first goal. We had a tough time covering their right flank. We tried to set up two lines of four but that didn't work," he said.

(Published 23 June 2014, 11:03 IST)

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