Last Update 22:53
Monday, 23 September 2019

Portugal revive World Cup hopes with 2-0 win in Azerbaijan

Under-pressure Portugal shrugged off the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo by securing a 2-0 victory over 10-man Azerbaijan in a World Cup Group F qualifier in Baku thanks to goals from Bruno Alves and Hugo Almeida on Tuesday

Reuters , Tuesday 26 Mar 2013
Portugal's Bruno Alves celebrates his goal against Azerbaijan during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Tofig Bahramov Stadium in Baku March 26, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 1038
Views: 1038

The win meant Portugal, who have not missed a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France, moved onto 11 points from six matches.

The result also put an end to a five-game winless streak which Portugal had failed to break last Friday when they stumbled to 3-3 draw in Israel.

Ronaldo, watching in the stands because of a suspension picked up in Tel Aviv, saw Azerbaijan's defensive heroics fall apart after forward Rauf Aliyev was sent off for a second yellow card early into the second half.

Portugal took advantage soon after when Bruno Alves, who scored the opener in Israel, sprinted towards a Joao Moutinho corner and towered above the Azeri defence to head in after 63 minutes.

Substitute Hugo Almeida then finished off Azerbaijan with an easy header in the box from a Fabio Coentrao cross with 10 minutes to go.

Russia top the group in the automatic qualification spot with 12 points from four matches.

New wingers

With Manchester United's Nani also out due to injury, Portugal coach Paulo Bento opted for VfL Wolfsburg's Vieirinha and Zenit St Petersburg's Danny on the wings.

They did not disappoint and created several chances but striker Helder Postiga fluffed his lines in the first half.

"It is a shame that we were so wasteful upfront. We had enough chances to go into halftime winning," Bento told Portuguese television RTP.

The Portuguese kept pressing and centre back Alves, who deputised for Ronaldo as captain, smashed a free kick against the bar.

He finally broke the deadlock when Portugal already had a one-man advantage over an Azerbaijan side without the sturdy defensive ability that coach Berti Vogts used to display for Germany.

"We proved today we have the capacity to qualify. It is in the bad moments that we show our character," Alves said.

It was not all good news for Portugal as centre back Pepe picked up a yellow card and will miss the next qualifier at home to Russia in June.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)



Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.