Cristiano Ronaldo scored in his first match at his hometown return to Madeira, but Portugal squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Sweden in a friendly on Tuesday.
Even Ronaldo found the net 18 minutes into his first match with the national team in his hometown of Funchal, delighting the nearly 10,000 fans packed with the tiny Estadio do Maritimo to see their local hero after a long time.
Ronaldo was the main attraction from the start in the game, getting a loud hooting from the crowd even before the match started by lifting and displaying the trophy for Portugal win for the first time in last year’s European Championship.
At that time his mother and son watching from the crowd, Ronaldo opened the scoring with a close-range shot after a right-flank cross by Gelson Martins. He then set up the move that led to an own goal by Sweden defender Andreas Granqvist in the 34th min.
However, Viktor Claesson started the comeback for the visitors with a shot from inside the area in the 57th minute and then he netted the equaliser from a corner kick in the 76th min.
A big mistake when they netted their own goal by Joan Cancelo in the final minute of stoppage time handed victory to Sweden.
“It’s never good when you lose,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who made several changes to the squad while it had the lead. “We scored the first two goals and the game was under control, but we lacked attention in the second half. We shouldn’t have conceded those three goals.”
The fans chanted Ronaldo’s name several times, including when he was substituted by veteran Ricardo Quaresma in the 58th minute.
Watch: Portugal vs Sweden 2-3 All Goals Highlights 28/03/2017
Ronaldo is regarded as a promoter of Madeira, which is considered one of the world’s top travel destinations. The islands are located are about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the African coast, and some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the European continent.
On Wednesday, the Madeira airport outside Funchal will be renamed after Ronaldo in a ceremony attended by the Real Madrid player and his relatives. Funchal already features a Ronaldo statue, a museum about the player, and a hotel complex named after him.
Portugal were coming off a convincing 3-0 win over Hungary in World Cup qualifying on Saturday in Lisbon, when Ronaldo scored twice and youngster Andre Silva added another.
Ronaldo is the leading scorer in European qualifying with nine goals, one more than Poland’s Robert Lewandowski. He has scored nine goals in his last four European qualifiers with the national team.
Portugal have 12 points from five matches in qualifying, three points less than Group B leaders Switzerland. Hungary is five points behind Portugal. Only the group winner automatically qualifies for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.