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Saturday, 06 June 2009 08:17

Bruno Alves saves Portugal in stoppage time 

Albania 1-2 Portugal

Portugal badgeAlbania badgePortugal kept alive their dream of making it to the South Africa World Cup thanks to a dramatic 92nd-minute winner from Bruno Alves. Hugo Almeida gave Carlos Queiroz's side the lead in the first half, but one minute later it was all square as Bogdani equalised.


Portugal again failed to play with the creativity and freedom of the not-too-distant past, but Alves' late winner could prove a turning point in the Queiroz era.



Albania 1-2 Portugal 


Never surely has a victory over a team of the level of Albania provoked so many post-match celebrations. Portugal's players have a collective hug in the centre circle. But a win is a win. Portugal are still alive in the hunt for at place at the 2010 World Cup, thanks to Bruno Alves' dramatic late late winner.   


95' - Final whistle goes. Portugal win 2-1. 


94' - Now it's Portugal's turn to waste time. Duda takes about ten minutes to take a thow-in! 


92' -  GOAL!!!!!!!!!!GOAL!!!!!!!!!! Bruno Alves, one day after being named Player of the Year in Portugal, rises high to head past Hidi and score what surely must be the winner.


90' - Another Edinho header is pouched by Hidi. Five minutes of stoppage time Five minutes for Portugal to get out of jail.


89' - Bruno Alves, playing as a striker, crashes into two defenders from the corner. The referee blows for a foul.


88' - Bosingwa has not given up. Another fine cross finds Edinho, but the striker's header is deflected wide.  


86' - Bosingwa does well to battle his way past three defender and cross into the box, but Hidi climbs high to claim the ball.  


84' - Things are getting desperate for Portugal. Six minutes to save their World Cup campaign.  


81' - Bosingwa combines well with Ronaldo and is stopped by a last-ditch challenge.  


80' - Yellow Card Pepe stops an Albanian counter-attack with a trip from behind and is shown the yellow card.  


78' - Ronaldo shots wide from close range.  


76' - Nani comes on for Ricardo Carvalho. It's time to throw the kitchen sink at the Albanian team.  


74' - The Seleccao step on the accelarator again. Two crosses in quick succession cause problems for goalkeeper Hidi. Yellow Card The Albania number one then picks up a yellow card after an exchange of niceties with Alves and/or a spot of time-wasting.


72' - Portugal seem to have lost their way. A short corner is completely wasted, with Deco playing a short pass straight to an opposition player.  


70' - Danger for Portugal. A corner is whipped in and some atrocious marking leaves an Albanian forward with a free header, which he thankfully puts over the bar.


69' - Queiroz tries to shake things up. Edinho comes on for Hugo Almeida. Both goalscorers in the match have been replaced.


66' - Portugal have worrying slowed the pace of their game again.


63' - Albanian goalscorer Bogdani comes off, substituted by Bylykbashi.  


62' - Meireles hits a powerful shot that thuds into a defender and the danger is clear. Portugal have improved in the second half but they deperately need a goal.  


58' - Some Ronaldo magic almost results in a goal! The Manchester United man controls the ball on his chest and volleys on the swivel just over the bar.


57' - Bogdani embarks on a strong run into the Portugal box and appears to be tripped by Carvalho. The referee waves play on. TV replays confirm it was a clear penalty. Some luck for Portugal.


54' -  Yellow Card Agolli shown the yellow card.


54' - Ronaldo fires in a violent shot that Hidi saves at the second attempt.  


53' - Meireles wins a free kick in a dangerous position, 30 metres from goal in the centre of the pitch. Ronaldo lines up to take it... 


Meanwhile news filters through that Denmark have won in Sweden. The Danes have practically guaranteed top spot in the group. Portugal have to win to fight for second place and a play-off spot.  


51' - Deco is next to threaten, but his cross-shot is straight at goalkeeper Hidi.  


49' - Portugal applying good pressure at the start of the second half. A cross from the right causes all sorts of chaos in the box, with Almeida just failing to take advantage.  


48' - Simao again in action, firing an effort just over the bar from the edge of the box.  


47' - Simao immediately in the action. A good run from the winger has the Albanians backtracking.  


46' - Second-half getys underway. Simao Sabrosa comes on for Boa Morte. 


Portugal's World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread. An inexplicable lack of urgency has been noticeable in the opening 45 minutes given what is at stake. Carlos Queiroz faces a huge test of his motivational skills during the break.  


45' - Boa Morte runs into an alley without exit. The half-time whistle blows with the teams all square.


43' - Duda crosses for Almeida but the big striker can't keep his header down.


41' - Vangjeli tries his luck from distance but a harmless shot dribbles wide.  


39' - Another dangerous break by Bosingwa, whose creates space for a cross which is cleared with difficulty by the diving head of an Albania defender.


37' - Portugal inches away for retaking the lead! Deco finds Meireles with a smart diagonal cross. The Porto midfielder volleys first time and Hidi makes a superb reaction save to keep the ball out.  


35' - Dangerous break by Albania. Eduardo forced to concede a corner, which is comfortably cleared.  


31' - Slick combination between Deco and Bosingwa sets the right-back free. His cross is cut out for Portugal's first corner, which comes to nothing.


28' - GOAL!!!!!!!!!!GOAL!!!!!!!!!! Albania equalise one minute after going behind. The dangerous Skela escapes down the left flank and floats a wonderful cross into the danger area, which Bogdani heads into the net. 



27' - GOAL!!!!!!!!!!GOAL!!!!!!!!!! Bosingwa crosses, the Albanian defence goes missing without leave and the unmarked Hugo Almeida heads into the net from point-blank range.



24' - Two scares for Portugal in quick succession. A free kick from distance is spilled by Eduardo but no Albanian is on hand to pick up the scraps. Moments later Skela lobs over Eduardo but the ball does not have enough strength on it to find the net.  


21' - Yellow Card Ronaldo cut down to the ground again. Yellow card for Curri.


19' - Again Portugal create danger and again Ronaldo is at the heart of the move. A lovely back-heel sets up Boa Morte who lifts his shot over the bar.


17' - Penalty appeal turned down!! Ronaldo weaves his way into the box at high speed and seems to be tripped in the box. The referee waves play on, provoking furious protests from Ronaldo. TV replays suggest he is right to be upset. 


15' - Another good break from Ronaldo who looks in the mood tonight. The ball breaks to Boa Morte in the box but the West Ham winger is crowded out.  


12' - First threat from the hosts. Albania win a dangerous free kick 30 metres from goal and a fine cross is whipped into the second post, which Pepe clears with difficulty.


9' - Dangerous run by Ronaldo unceremoniously brought to a halt by a scything foul on the edge of the box. Yellow Card Yellow card for Vangjeli. The Manchester United man fires in an effort from the resulting free-kick which flies past the post.  


5' - Slow start to the match. Close the 30,000 partisan fans in the stadium, making it a difficult atmosphere for Portugal, with plenty of fire-crackers in the mix.




Starting line-ups



Hidi, Vangjeli, Cana, Curri, Vrapi, Bequiri, Agolli, Bulku, Duru, Skela, Bogdani





Eduardoi, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Alves, Duda, Pepe, Meireles, Deco, Ronaldo, Boa Morte, Almeida



Yellow Card  Red Card  GOAL!!!!!!!!!! 

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