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  Results & Reviews: Match 18

  

Host wins Iberian battle
Portugal ousts neighbor Spain with 1-0 win in final Group A game

Substitute Nuno Gomes fired host Portugal into the Euro 2004 quarterfinal and ousted neighbor Spain with the only goal in a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

The Benfica striker fired a low 18-meter shot past Iker Casillas in the 57th minute to spark celebrations among the red-and-green clad Portuguese fans in the Jose Alvalade stadium.

The result means the hosts survived a stunning opening game loss in Group A to Greece. Portugal finished atop the group with six points. Greece and Spain had four, but Greece advanced to the quarterfinals because it scored more overall goals.

"We have given Portugal a day of joy," said Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. "We gave everything we had to give. Without this crowd behind us and the
 
« Summary »

Group A 20 June 2004 1945 CET

José Alvalde, Lisbon Attendance 47,491

0:1

Nuno Gomes 57
Spain (4-4-2) Casillas; Puyol, Juanito (Morientes 80), Helguera, Bravo; Joaquin (Luque 72), Albelda (Baraja 66), Alonso, Vicente; Torres, Raul.
Portugal (4-5-1) Ricardo; Miguel, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente; Maniche, Costinha, Figo (Petit 78), Deco, Ronaldo (Couto 85); Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 46).
Referee Anders Frisk (SWE)

Portuguese people, we wouldn't have been able to do it. The team is more competitive. It showed what we need to go farther."

Team captain Luis Figo agreed with Scolari. After a disappointing opening-game loss to Greece 2-1, the hosts have improved.

"The pressure was really high," Figo said. "It showed we can work for better things in the future. We are improving as time passes. The first game was not easy for us. It was a great disappointment. Now we are improving and let's see what we can do in the quarterfinals."

Spain's coach, Inaki Saez, said his players were deflated by the loss.

"We worked very hard in the first half but they (Portugal) provided all the passion," he said. "The goal came from a half-chance at a time when we least expected it and we had to go for the game after that.

"We had some good chances but the ball just would not go in.

"The players are extremely low. We had great hopes for this tournament and had qualification within our grasp, but it just wasn't to be."

Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored Portugal's late consolation goal in the loss to Greece, was given a start before 47,491 fans and with Figo operating on the other flank against four of his Real Madrid teammates. With Deco probing in the center, the host team played imaginative soccer to pressure the Spanish defense.

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas made a fine blocking save at the near post from a rising 20-meter shot from Maniche in the 19th minute.

Just before halftime, Ronaldo jumped high to glance a header just past the far post after Casillas left his line and failed to reach a well-flighted Luis Figo cross from the left wing.

The Portuguese were struggling in the early stages of the second half, even with Gomes on for the ineffective Pauleta.

But the substitute put the host nation ahead in the 57th minute when he collected the ball with his back to goal just outside the area, turned past Juanito and fired a low shot past Casillas into the bottom left corner.

Spain should have leveled two minutes later when Ricardo failed to punch away a leftwing cross, and Raul headed wide of the far from five meters.

Fernando Torres came agonizingly close to leveling in the 61st minute when he ran onto a pass from David Albelda and got clear of the Portuguese defense. Portuguese 'keeper Ricardo raced off his line but was beaten, only for Fernando Torres' shot to hit the post and bounce clear.

Figo curled a 25-meter free kick round the wall and Casillas made an acrobatic save to push the ball round the post. From the corner, Costinha climbed well to try and force home a close range header but the Real Madrid 'keeper again blocked it.

Spanish substitute Albert Luque had a chance to level when a cross found him free in front of goal with Ricardo off his line. But his tame header was cleared by Ricardo Carvalho. The resulting corner reached Juanito wide of the far post, and his header bounced off the crossbar.

Costinha should have made it 2-0 with three minutes to go but, unmarked and with just Casillas to beat, he headed high over the bar.

Then Maniche got round the goalkeeper, but his angled shot was cleared off the line by Raul Bravo.
- AP

 

 

 « Group Standings »

Group A

P W D L F A Pt
Portugal 3 2 0 1 4 2 6
Greece 3 1 1 1 4 4 4
Spain 3 1 1 1 2 2 4
Russia 3 1 0 2 2 4 3

 

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 « Match Stats »

ESP vs POR
0 Goals 1
0 Halftime 0
9 Corners 11
3 Offsides 3
24 Fouls 24
3 Yellow cards 2
0 Red cards 0
28 Free kicks 28
6 Shots on target 13
5 Shots off target 7
2 Woodwork 0
4 Saves 0
1 GL Clearances 0
47% Possession 53%

 

 

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