Portugal ease to opening win

Pepe and Meireles on target

Last Updated: 07/06/08 10:41pm

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Pepe: Stunning strike

Pepe: Stunning strike

Sky Bet

Portugal opened their Euro 2008 account with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Turkey in Geneva.

Cristiano Ronaldo - who hit the post with a sensational free-kick early on - inspired his side to victory as they scored two second half goals to kill of a Turkish threat which never materialised.

After having a first-half effort disallowed, Pepe made no mistake on the hour as he gave Portugal the lead with a stunning individual effort.

Nuno Gomes hit post and crossbar before the second goal arrived in stoppage time when substitute Raul Meireles finished off a fine counter-attack.

Portugal now sit on top of Group A after Czech Republic's 1-0 win over Switzerland earlier on Saturday.

The first 45 minutes in Geneva were an open affair but, apart from Ronaldo's set-piece, neither goalkeepers were unduly troubled.

Jose Bosingwa struck a low cross into the side-netting in the second minute following a promising move down the right.

Chelsea's new signing then provided Ronaldo with his first sight of goal, the 23-year-old cutting in from the right but blazing a left-footed shot high over the crossbar in the sixth minute.

Turkey appealed for a penalty seven minutes later when Tuncay Sanli went down under the challenge of Bosingwa but German referee Herbert Fandel waved away their claims.

Real Madrid defender Pepe thought he had put the Euro 2004 finalists ahead in the 17th minute when he headed home following Simao Sabrosa's corner but his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

Nihat Kahveci saw his free-kick from just outside the area deflected narrowly wide as the game continued to flow from end to end.

Ronaldo almost conjured up a moment of magic on the half-hour, weaving his way past four players only to drag his right-footed effort wide.

Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan then stepped up to keep out Ronaldo's blistering free-kick and Joao Moutinho lashed over from 10 yards, but the deadlock was not to be broken in the first half.

Lively second-half

The second period began in lively fashion. Nuno Gomes poked a first-time shot against the post with the referee having played a good advantage following a hefty challenge on Simao from Gokhan Zan.

Portugal coach Scolari was beginning to get animated on the touchline at his team's failures in the final third.

Ronaldo sought to rectify that by fending off the attentions of Hamit Altintop and breaking clear on the left 11 minutes after the break, but again he saw his shot kept out by Volkan.

Joao Moutinho's swerving attempt was too high to worry the keeper but, although Turkey substitute Sabri Sarioglu also let fly from long range, Portugal did not have much longer to wait for the breakthrough.

Pepe's tidy finish was followed almost immediately by a glancing Nuno Gomes header from Ronaldo's cross.

It struck the crossbar with Volkan rooted to the spot as Portugal looked to further capitalise on their superiority.

Turkey looked to be getting frustrated as the Portuguese asserted their authority, with Sabri's over-zealous appeals for handball against Simao on the edge of the area earning the Galatasaray defender a yellow card.

With only one goal in it, however, Portugal could not afford to relax and were almost pegged back nine minutes from time but Turkey substitute Emre Asik headed wide when in acres of space.

Tuncay also had a chance to nick a point towards the end but completely missed his kick.

And the door was firmly closed on Turkey in stoppage time when Raul Meireles sealed matters.

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