UEFA EURO 2008; Portugal pegged back in Armenia

Portugal pegged back in Armenia
Wednesday 22 August 2007

A fine Cristiano Ronaldo goal was not enough to earn
Portugal a much-needed victory in Armenia as a 1-1
draw left them four points behind the leaders Poland
in UEFA EURO 2008′ qualifying Group A.

Third surprise
Robert Arzumanyan headed Armenia in front after 12
minutes, but the Manchester United FC winger equalised
with a trademark individual effort. If that strike was
supposed to be the cue for Portugal to push on for
victory, the hosts had not read the script and held on
for their third surprise result in a row, having
defeated Kazakhstan and Poland away in the last set of
fixtures in June.

Goalkeeper deceived
Samvel Melkonyan and Deco traded shots from range
before Arzumanyan put the hosts in front by nodding in
Artavazd Karamyan’s free-kick. Arzumanyan then passed
up an opportunity to double the lead either side of
fizzing shots with both feet from Deco, the FC
Barcelona playmaker who was central to much of his
side’s best moves. Portugal were soon on terms,
though, as Armenia defender Agvan Lazarian missed the
ball in his own box and Ronaldo capitalised by
slotting the ball under Roman Berezovsky after
deceiving the goalkeeper by feigning a pass across the

Attacking impetus
Ronaldo fired a free-kick over the bar from distance
after 55 minutes before Luiz Felipe Scolari sought
greater attacking impetus with the introduction of
Nuno Gomes and Ricardo Quaresma for Hélder Postiga and
Simão, who had been ineffective. Tiago fired wide and
Quaresma twice missed at the other end as full time
approached, although the clearest chance was the final
one as Bruno Alves rose unmarked to meet Deco’s cross
deep into added time but headed wide – a miss which
could prove costly in what is shaping up to be a
thrilling section.

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