Real Madrid's Ronaldo scores as Portugal beat Sweden in World Cup playoff

AP, Friday 15 Nov 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, chases the ball with Sweden's Sebastian Larsson, right, during a World Cup qualifying first leg playoff soccer match between Portugal and Sweden at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a diving header eight minutes from the end to give Portugal a 1-0 win over Sweden on Friday in the first leg of their World Cup playoff.

Ronaldo's late strike gave the Portuguese a slender advantage ahead of the return leg at the Swedish national stadium on Tuesday as the two countries fight for a berth at next year's tournament in Brazil.

Ronaldo also headed against the crossbar in a late flurry of action after a mostly uneventful game.

The playoff set the stage for a duel between two of Europe's top players, with high-scoring Ronaldo and Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic both netting hat tricks for their clubs last weekend.

But the game didn't live up to its billing, especially in a mostly dull second half.

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