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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Tofik Bakhramov, Baku (ATT 30,000) 26th March 2013 - Kick off 17:00 Ref: Andre Marriner

Azerbaijan Azerbaijan vs Portugal Portugal

Azerbaijan 0

R Aliyev (S/O 55)

ft

Portugal 2

B Alves (63)
H Almeida (79)

Portugal two good for Azerbaijan

Last Updated: 26/03/13 10:52pm

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Bruno Alves: Opened the scoring

Bruno Alves: Opened the scoring

Second-half goals from Bruno Alves and Hugo Almeida helped stuttering Portugal to a much-needed World Cup qualifying victory over Azerbaijan.

Portugal went into the match having picked up only two points from their previous three qualifiers and having survived a huge scare on Friday when they needed a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 3-3 at Israel.

They were also without suspended talisman Cristiano Ronaldo for the clash, but Paulo Bento's men eventually overcame a stubborn Azerbaijan to boost their hopes of claiming a top-two berth in Group F.

After a goalless first half, Portugal received a huge fillip when home striker Rauf Aliyev was sent off after picking up two bookings in quick succession, and the visitors took advantage through headed goals from Alves and substitute Postiga in the final half-hour to claim the victory.

Portugal dominated the first half, but a mixture of indifferent finishing, good work by the Azerbaijan defence and the woodwork denied them the lead.

Alves came the closest in the 38th minute with a 30-yard free-kick which crashed back off a post, but he was not the only Portuguese player who must have felt the fates were conspiring against him.

Helder Postiga twice seemed certain to score, but he was first denied by a brilliant block by Rashad Sadygov in the 27th minute before then seeing seeing home goalkeeper Kamran Agayev somehow keep out his stoppage-time header with his feet.

Agayev also saved another effort from Postiga, while Miguel Veloso sent a 25-yard free-kick inches wide out as Portugal were thwarted in their bid for a first-half goal.

The visitors were back on the attack at the start of the second period, and Agayev was called into action once more to keep out Danny's shot.

Winless Azerbaijan were doing a valiant job of frustrating their opponents, but their hopes of seeing that through to the full-time whistle suffered a hammer blow in the 55th minute when Aliyev was dismissed.

The forward had only been booked minutes before when he was handed a second yellow card for a foul on Pepe.

Portugal needed just eight minutes to make their numerical advantage count.

Agayev had done well to parry an effort from Fabio Coentrao moments earlier but he was unable to keep out Alves' powerful header from Joao Moutinho's corner as a relieved Portugal finally got their noses in front.

Almeida, who replaced Raul Meireles soon after Aliyev was sent off, then wrapped up the points with Portugal's second 11 minutes from time with a close-range header.

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Matches

  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Tue 26th Mar - Group B
    Tue 26th Mar - Group F
    • Azerbaijan
      0 - 2
      Portugal
      bet
      TV
    • N Ireland
      0 - 2
      Israel
      bet
      TV
    Tue 26th Mar - Group D
    Tue 26th Mar - Group H
    Tue 26th Mar - Group A
    Tue 26th Mar - Group C
    Tue 26th Mar - Group I

Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4

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