Portugal opened 2013 with their fourth straight winless game as they were beaten 3-2 at home in a friendly against Ecuador.
A crowd of 20,287 at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes looked set to see Paulo Bento's side end their bad run when Portugal went 2-1 up with 30 minutes to go, but an own goal and a late strike from former Sporting Clube de Portugal forward Felipe Caicedo – now at FC Lokomotiv Moskva – condemned them to a defeat.
Ecuador goalkeeper Máximo Banguera saved an early Cristiano Ronaldo shot, then denied Hélder Postiga from the rebound as Portugal made a bright start. However, the home support was soon silenced when Manchester United FC's Antonio Valencia rose above a defence featuring debutant Luís Neto to nod in Jefferson Montero's cross from the left.
Ronaldo equalised with his 38th goal in 101 internationals on 23 minutes, picking up a stylish back-heeled pass from Real Madrid CF team-mate Fábio Coentrão and eluding his marker to fire home. On the hour Portugal went ahead, Nani setting up Postiga for a close-range finish, yet within a minute a miscommunication between goalkeeper Eduardo and João Pereira, when Caicedo was trying to tee up a team-mate, led to the Valencia CF full-back scoring an own goal.
Caicedo then found the winner with a shot from the edge of the box with 20 minutes left, though Portugal substitute Custódio struck the bar with a header at the death. Third in FIFA World Cup Group F, level on points with Israel and five behind leaders Russia, Bento's team will hope their luck improves when they visit Israel (22 March) and Azerbaijan (26 March) in their next qualifiers.
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