World Cup qualifiers: Portugal book play-off spot with victory over Luxembourg
Last Updated: 15/10/13 10:17pm
Nani struck for Portugal in their victory over Luxembourg
Portugal secured second place in World Cup qualifying Group F and a play-off spot after they beat 10-man Luxembourg 3-0 on Tuesday.
Silvestre Varela put Portugal ahead on the half-hour mark in Coimbra, two minutes after Aurelien Joachim had been sent off for the visitors.
Nani added the second in the 36th minute before Helder Postiga sealed the win, but Portugal's place in next year's tournament in Brazil is now dependent on them winning a two-legged play-off against another second-placed team.
Portugal dominated the game and Manchester United midfielder Nani went close in the ninth minute when he forced a save from Luxembourg goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert.
Nani struck the ball from the right of the area and Joubert parried the ball, which fell to Postiga, who was denied by the stopper from 18 yards.
Joao Moutinho then tried his luck, but his weak shot was put over the bar with a touch from the busy Joubert.
Luxembourg striker Daniel da Mota put a chance over the bar at the other end, but Portugal were soon on the attack again, with Fabio Coentrao's header hitting the bar from Andre Almeida's cross in the 14th minute.
Nani went close again when his close range header was tipped over by Joubert, who was single-handedly keeping his side in the game.
However, Luxembourg's resistance faltered soon after, when Moutinho sent Varela racing through on goal with a deft pass.
The striker's dummy fooled Joubert, allowing him to slide the ball into the unguarded net.
The goal was a second blow for the visitors after they had Joachim sent off for a foul on Almeida only two minutes earlier.
Nani then rubbed salt in the wound when Moutinho put him in on goal with a back-heel, allowing the midfielder to smash it into the roof of the net from nine yards.
Portugal kept up the pace after the break, with Postiga and Nani both going close early in the second half.
In fact, the Portugal fans in Coimbra would have been left wondering why they had not seen more goals, as the home side created a hatful of chances but were wasteful in their finishing.
Postiga finally found the third in the 78th minute when he tapped home from Josue's free-kick to wrap up the win.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 15th Oct - Group E
Cyprus0 - 0Albania
Norway1 - 1Iceland
Switzerland1 - 0Slovenia
Tue 15th Oct - Group F
Azerbaijan1 - 1Russia
Israel1 - 1N Ireland
Portugal3 - 0Luxembourg
Tue 15th Oct - Group G
Greece2 - 0Liechtenstein
Lithuania0 - 1Bos & Herz
Latvia2 - 2Slovakia
Tue 15th Oct - Group D
Hungary2 - 0Andorra
Turkey0 - 2Holland
Romania2 - 0Estonia
Tue 15th Oct - Group B
Bulgaria0 - 1Czech Rep
Denmark6 - 0Malta
Italy2 - 2Armenia
Tue 15th Oct - Group A
Serbia5 - 1Macedonia
Scotland2 - 0Croatia
Belgium1 - 1Wales
Tue 15th Oct - Group C
Faroe Islands0 - 3Austria
Rep Ireland3 - 1Kazakhstan
Sweden3 - 5Germany
Tue 15th Oct - Group H
San Marino0 - 8Ukraine
Montenegro2 - 5Moldova
England2 - 0Poland
Tue 15th Oct - Group I
France3 - 0Finland
Spain2 - 0Georgia
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I