Poor Portugal Held By Animated Armenia

Qualifier Report:
Poor Portugal Held By Animated Armenia


A great move from Cristiano Ronaldo saved Portuguese honour in Erevan as the
visitors suffered an early goal and only harvested a meagre point from their
away fixture. The result is a let-down for Scolari and his men and postpones
Portugal’s chances of making it through to Switzerland and Austria next

Armenia 1-1 Portugal

The game got off to the expected start where Armenia put the visitors under
pressure, Ricardo saving a Pachajyan effort that left Scolari apoplectic
with the lax attitude of his rearguard. The Brazilian tactician’s worst
fears were realised just two minutes later as centre-back Arzumanyan (11
min) was left free to head a cross home.

The Republican stadium erupted with unabashed joy as Portugal reeled and a
nasty-looking vein throbbed on Felipão’s temple. Portugal reacted and a
Simão corner was punched clear by Berezovski and a Postiga long shot held
little danger before Armenia hit back and a Karamyan effort went close.

Cristiano Ronaldo (37 min) made the difference as the Manchester United star
did it all: robbed a ball and snuck in past three Armenians on the right
before smacking the ball in from a tight angle to earn the equaliser and
pound the Selecção das Quinas badge with fierce pride.

The second half started with a Karamyan shot that grazed Ricardo’s right
post before Portugal surged forward but a Raúl Meireles effort went far wide
and a strong Ronaldo shot exploded off the local barrier. The first subs
came on as Felipão took off Hélder Postiga for Nuno Gomes and Simão for
Ricardo Quaresma.

Deco, not exactly playing his finest game, slipped up on the poor surface to
add insult to the injury of a paltry draw and Tiago let rip with a trademark
30-metre rocket that whizzed by the Armenians’ left post. Jorge Andrade saw
yellow for a foul on Tateosian and the resulting free kick was hoofed over
by Karamyan.

A tired Karamyan, one of the Armenian highlights, made way for Melikiyan to
clamorous home applause. Nuno Gomes set Quaresma up by the FC Porto star
banged a predictable shot in that was easily held by Berezovski. Portugal
made their last adjustment as another FC Porto man, centre-back Bruno Alves,
came on for Jorge Andrade, the new man heading a Deco assist wide soon

Armenia attempted to go for the full three points as Ghazaryan and Pachajyan
tried Ricardo out, but the keeper responded well and kept the damage to a
minimum. As time ran out, Deco walloped a shot way over the crossbar and a
Quaresma cross couldn’t find Nuno Gomes. It was all going pear-shaped and
both team and tactcian appeared powerless to find a suitable answer to the

Arakelyan made way for Khachatryahn as four minutes of injury time were
added and despite a late chance where a Quaresma free kick found Bruno Alves
on the left the chance went wide and so did the result. A bad day for
Portugal that delays the long-awaited classification for the Euro 2008 and
leaves Coach Felipão stewing in his own juice.

ARMENIA (1): Berezovski; Hovsepyan, Arzumanyan, and Tateosyan; Arakelyan
(Khachatryahn), Voskanyan, Pachajyan, Lazarian; Karamyan (Melikyan),
Malkonyan, Mkhitaryan (Ghazaryan).
Unused Subs: Habobyan, Dokhoyan, Minasyan, and Zebelyan

Coach: Ian Porterfield

PORTUGAL (1): Ricardo; Miguel, Fernando Meira, Jorge Andrade (Bruno Alves)
and Paulo Ferreira; Tiago, Raúl Meireles and Deco; Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder
Postiga (Nuno Gomes) and Simão (Ricardo Quaresma)
Unused Subs: Quim, Bosingwa, João Moutinho and Miguel Veloso

Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari