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EC Qualification

  • 5 June 2011
  • • 01:30
  • • Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz), Lisboa
  • Referee: C. Çakιr
  • • Attendance: 47829

Portugal 1- 0 Norway: Postiga Winner Ensures Seleccao Take Top Spot In Group H

Portugal 1- 0 Norway: Postiga Winner Ensures Seleccao Take Top Spot In Group H

Paulo Bento can breathe a sigh of relief after seeing his side get level on points with their Scandinavian counterparts, in a result that did not reflect Portugal's dominance

Portugal moved to the top of Group H after recording a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Norway, thanks to Helder Postiga's 53rd-minute winner. The result now means it is a three-horse race in the group, as Portugal, Norway and Denmark are all tied on 10 points, but the latter two are now behind Paulo Bento's men on goal difference.

The final scoreline did not pay full testament to the pure dominance displayed by the Portuguese, who completely outplayed their opponents, but could not convert their overriding possession into goals, not to mention genuine goalscoring opportunities.

The match began in very positive fashion, as both teams set their stall early on. However, despite the visitors producing the first chance of the game through Bjorn Helge Riise in the first minute and his stinging long-range volley, it wasn't long before the hosts settled into their ever-threatening approach, with the wing play from the likes of Nani and Coentrao being a standout at times.

The possession of the ball by Portugal was for all to see as the half wore on, but apart from a trademark Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick and several snapshots at goal from the likes of Raul Meireles, they failed to find the final product to make their free-flowing football count, and the teams went in at the break with Norway being most content.

However, the second half provided a goal, much to the delight of Paulo Bento, as it was Postiga who popped up in the box to meet Nani's delicious low cross, and he slid in to give his side a crucial lead on 53 minutes for their qualification hopes.

Norway failed to find an answer for Portugal's impressive attacking football on show, as they tried their utmost to ensure they did not fall any further behind.

Egil Olsen's side could only muster a penalty shout by substitute Mohamed Abdellaoui, but it was shot down in an instant. Bari's Erik Huseklepp was a shining light on the wing for the Scandinavians, as he tested the Portugal backline on occassions, but he was hauled off towards the end of the half, much to the purist's disdain.

The match ended in rather amusing style, as a streaker ran onto the field of play in injury time wearing a Portugal flag, but she was quickly escorted off as the final whistle blew shortly after.

For Portugal, their aspirations of qualification are more realistic than ever, as they now sit pretty at the pinnacle of Group H. For Norway, however, they will be disappointed to see their three-point lead erode away.

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