Wolves summer target Rafael Leao impresses on Portugal debut
Portugal v Qatar - International Friendly
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Wolves summer target Rafael Leao impresses on Portugal debut

Wolverhampton Wanderers summer transfer target Rafael Leao impressed on his senior Portugal debut in the 3-0 friendly win against Qatar.

The AC Milan forward came on to make his Selecao debut when he replaced the great Cristiano Ronaldo who gave his nation a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The 22-year-old came on alongside Wolves full-back Nelson Semedo who was called into Nuno Santos’ side due to Raphael Guerreiro being injured and on-loan Wolves star Trincao testing positive for Covid-19.

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Italian outlet Calciomercato reported in the summer that Wolves, Borussia Dortmund, Everton and Marseille had all entered into direct contact with Leao.

However, a transfer never happened.

Semedo replaced Paris Saint Germain full-back Nuno Mendes at the break.

In the first half another rumoured Wolves summer transfer target Goncalo Guedes robbed a Qatar defender off the ball before going on great solo run, beating two players before his shot took a touch off Al Sheeb and went wide.

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Three minutes into the second half Portugal doubled their advantage. Guedes was fouled near the touch line, Joao Mario’s free kick was met by Danilo Pereira who saw his header saved, but only as far as Jose Fonte who was on hand to score from close range.

Guedes was replaced on the hour mark by Sporting Lisbon star Joao Palhinha.

With 20 minutes to go Wolves’ Joao Moutinho came on alongside Bruno Fernandes.

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With Qatar’s defence becoming increasingly weary, Leao sensed blood and dominated the final 10 minutes of the match which started with him providing a cross for Andre Silva, which was saved.

The in-form AC Milan man hit the bar with a shot from distance then a trademark long ball from Fernandes released Leao, but the ball took a deflection past Al Sheeb, and just when it seemed certain that Leao would slot home into an empty net he somehow managed to hit the post from a yard out.

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However, Leao still had time to make an impact and an accurate cross picked out Andre Silva who headed past Al Sheeb in the 90th minute to make it an impressive start to life in the senior side for Leao.

Former Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio was an unused substitute and Ruben Neves wasn’t part of the squad after returning to training follow a minor injury.