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May 26, 2012
• 12:00 PM
• Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, Leiria
Referee: A. Kelly
• Attendance: 19332
90' + 5'
And that's the end of the match! It's all square here as Portugal-Macedonia ends 0-0. The home side will be the more worried of the two, failing to turn possession into meaningful chances as the Euros loom large. I'm Julian De Martinis and I'd like to thank you for joining me here today!
90' + 4'
A last gasp free-kick for Macedonia now! It's driven in towards goal and easily scooped up by Beto. Neither side have threatened the other's goalkeeper. Portugal nearly squeeze a goal in the dying seconds but Bogatinov dives low to save Oliviera's shot.
90' + 1'
Four minutes of injury time added on here and Portugal have a corner. Nani stands over it but it's cleared easily by Macedonia's keeper.
Fewer and fewer chances falling for Portugal as Macedonia look to be racing for a surprise result here!
Mere minutes left in this and it's nearly impossible to see either side scoring a goal. Truly woeful offense so far!
Macedonia send on Mojsov for Trickovski for the final five minutes of the match.
Nani plays a corner short and receives the ball back; dribbling towards the box, he whips in a shot that sails over the bar. Another poor effort from him tonight.
Less than 10 minutes to go here and the home side are getting increasingly desperate for a goal.
Yet again Portugal fail to make a proper pass inside the box! The players are lined up at the edge of the box and pass it laterally instead of forward, none taking a shot until it comes from- as per usual- outside the box. Astonishing, this!
Nani whips a free kick into the box that's headed out by the first defender it reaches. A poor effort from the Manchester United midfielder.
Portugal passing every which way around the box but cannot find the final ball to send someone through with a chance on goal. It's no surprise nearly every effort has been from outside the area, as Almeida tries another shot that gets smothered well.
Portugal get on the end of two successive decent crosses; both times the side get a head onto it, and both times the headers fail to test the keeper.
Ronaldo coming off now for Varela as Portugal make yet another change, as is commonplace for a friendly before a major tournament.
Macedonia are on the backfoot here but have yet to throw in the towel, and for good reason; though they've had fewer chances than Portugal they look quite threatening whenever they do roam forward.
No goal yet for the home side but certainly not for a lack of trying. Portugal have plenty of possession in decent areas but have much trouble converting that into genuine chances.
Ronaldo slips a peach of a ball into the area that slips past several teammates and foes before Macedonia clears. That just needed a simple tap to end up in the back of the net!
Ibraimi with a very, very long range effort on goal that fails to trouble the keeper. On the other end, Ronaldo's tries a similar effort that whizzes wide of the post.
Quaresma fouled near the byline, earning his side a free-kick in Macedonia's half, which they play short. He's fouled again seconds later and wins another set-piece which Portugal look to send into the box this time.
The two sides each have possession in each other's boxes in quick succession but fail to do anything with it. Fazili off for Hasani and a double substitution for Portugal with Postiga off for Almeida and Nani off for Micael.
Sikov takes the kick, opting to keep it on the ground and play it under the wall, but the effort goes well wide of the near post. It's been deflected out and Macedonia have a corner, which Beto punches clear.
Macedonia win a free kick after Pereia looked to have caught Trickovski from behind just as the latter raced past the former. This is just outside the box; Macedonia look to be lining up a shot on target.
From one end to another as Macedonia respond with a corner of their own. Trickovski stands over this one, and sends a fantastic ball to Sikov who blasts his header over after being unmarked from mere yards out!
Portugal corner. Meireles whips it deep in the box, where a compatriot gets his head onto it and plays it on target but Bogatinov collects.
What a chance for Macedonia! Somehow a fantastic counter ends with the ball sailing just past the far post when it looked like it was curling in! Portugal need a new strategy now, as their flank play looks to have been better nullified by the visitors.
Yellow Card Yani Urdinov
Urdinov booked for an unnecessary shove, and on come two changes for the visitors, sending on Demiri for Gligorov and Ibraimi for Spirovski.
Portugal are dominating the right flank at the moment, sending in another great cross that takes a sliding effort to clear! On the other end, Ristovski's cross sails harmlessly out of play as Macedonia look to have made a couple of changes.
Now that's better from the home side; Quaresma dribbles his way to the box from the right and sends in a good cross that Bogatinov has to dive to punch away. The follow-up effort comes to Portugal but the ball is overhit for the goalie to collect.
Portugal have another free-kick, this one just outside the box to the right. It's played right into the heart of the area, and Postiga tries to flick it into the goal with his heel, but it goes wide.
Oh dear, oh dear... Macedonia whiff a clearance and gift possession to Portugal just outside the box. It's played into Ronaldo, who tries a cheeky back-heel instead of a conventional shot, which barely has any traction and is easily scooped up! Embarrassing from both sides!
Raul Meireles looks to be the only change from Bento for the second half, as he comes on for Moutinho. The visitors look to be unchanged and the home side take the kick-off, with Quaresma fouled nearly immediately! Free-kick to Portugal.
45' + 1'
And that's the half! It's been a lively and engaging affair thus far, though neither side have been able to score their first goal. Portugal indubitably had the better of the chances but Macedonia are proving to be a tough nut to crack. Join us in 15 for the second half!
Macedonia's plan working nearly perfectly so far, as they defend quite deep and try to hit Portugal on the counter.
A solid effort from Quaresma- restricted like his teammates into taking shots outside the box- proves to be of little difficulty for Bogatinov to dive low and save.
Ronaldo stands over another free-kick, outside the box and to the left, once again nearly sending it into the roof of the net but just overhitting his effort.
Bento will surely be frustrated by his side's lack of a true target man up front; a problem that has plagued Portugal for years, and one that Postiga does not look quite ready to fill.
A clearly frustrating home side are resorting to long range efforts now. Macedonia will be the much happier of the two sides to head into halftime should the score stand.
Quaresma is flagged offside as he attempts to receive a pass on the wing, breaking up what looked to be a solid Portugese attack.
All of Macedonia's efforts look to have paid off- after a spell where a Portugese goal looked inevitable, it's now taking much longer for the home side to reach promising positions. Joao Moutinho launches onto a wayward pass and shoot from a ways out, but his effort sails wide of the far post.
Another superb sliding challenge from the visitors ensures that Portugal are being frustrated time and time again as they attempt to break into the box and take shots on target.
Macedonia are scrambling now to clear the ball in any way that they can- sliding challenges, ambitious headers, risky pressing. Portugal seem mere moments away from a goal at this rate!
Momentum is fully with the home side at the moment, exemplified by Quaresma's shot which is blocked by a low sliding tackle just outside the box.
Portugal knocking rapidly on the door of the goal now as a cross just misses the onrushing Ronaldo in the box.
Ronaldo with an brilliant first time effort that whizzes just wide of the near post and brings the crowd into applause! No one expected that from the wide angle he was at!
Joao Mountinho involved in a scuffle now and Macedonia are awarded a free kick. The midfielder looked to have caught one of his opponents with an accidental elbow to the face.
Macedonia's first corner comes to nought and Portugal spend a bit trying to break deep into their opponents' half. Macedonia are set up well and demanding creativity to do so.
Heider Postiga now with his own effort, sending a solid low shot on target and right into the hands of Bogatinov from some distance. Portugal trying to vary their approach here but to no avail so far.
Ristovski charges down his flank to play a ball into the Portugese box and it's scooped up by Beto before anyone else can reach it.
Miguel Veloso decides to take matters in his own hands, drilling a shot from 10 yards outside the box towards the goal, but watches it sail wide. Poor decision making from the player who had numerous teammates around.
What a chance for Macedonia! The side counter very quickly after a poor pass deep in their half, and Sikov gets to the edge of the box unmarked to receive the pass. He shoots to the far post but his ball sails wide!
Ronaldo gets to the edge of the Macedonia box; met with a line of defenders, he jukes left and right before trying to send a cross in that hits the closest defender and is cleared.
Coentrao whips a cross deep into the box that Quaresma tries to volley on the fly but sails right into Bogatinov's arms.
Slick passing from Portugal to work their way down the left, but Macedonia pounce on a loose ball and quickly counter. The home side smother the danger however; the visitors have only had the ball in little spurts thus far.
Quaresma goes down under a challenge from Samir Fazli just outside the area, and Portugal have a fantastic set-piece opportunity! Ronaldo takes it, sending it agonizingly over the bar by mere centimetres!
Bogatinov rises high to punch clear a solid delivery from another Portugal corner. The home side are really starting to turn up the pressure now and are dragging Macedonia players out of position.
Macedonia on their first real foray forward; Pandev cuts in from the left and whips in a cross that sails out of bounds.
Great applause for Joao Periera, who chases a wayward pass that looked to be heading for a goal-kick and instead turns it into a corner by playing it off a defender. No Portuguese player is able to capitalize from the subsequent corner, however.
Tricovski shepards a dangerous ball back to Bogatinov and prevents a Portuguese attack from growing. So far the home side look the more comfortable of the two but Macedonia have yet to be tested.
Sloppy play from Paulo Bento's men, who build well from the back and lose the ball when it's played too far in front of Coentrao on the wing.
Ronaldo goes on a trademark drive down the left flank and shakes his head in disgust when the referee adjudges him to receive the ball in an offside position.
We have kick-off! Macedonia begin with possession in their yellow kits, but lose it in Portugal's box. The home side begins attacking from the back in a much more patient way.
The pre-match proceedings are underway, with the national anthems being sung as the teams are lined up on the pitch. Ronaldo looks to be all smiles for this one!
The teams are getting ready for game-time now, with less than 10 minutes to go. The stadium looks to be at quite a good capacity and all will be hoping for an entertaining match with no injuries.
Today's friendly marks a special record for Cristiano Ronaldo, who will earn his 89th Portugal cap to become the 4th most capped player in the history of the country, overtaking Pauleta!
Macedonia meanwhile head out there with a 4-4-2 comprised of Bogatinov; Ristovski, Trickovski, Noveski, Gmcarov; Urdinov, Gligorov, Spirovski, Sikov; Pandev, Fazli.
The lineups for the two sides have been announced. Paulo Bento looks to be pulling no punches with what seems to be, more or less, Portugal's strongest starting XI. Portugal: Beto; João Pereira, Rolando, Bruno Alves, Coentrão, Miguel Veloso, Moutinho, Rúben Micael; Quaresma, Postiga, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Macedonia, meanwhile, come into the match in nearly the polar opposite form- just one win in their last five and only having scored four times in that stretch. John Toshack's side have had a different goalscorer each time but none seem to be consistent at the moment- which could be something he'll look to test today.
Paulo Bento's side head into the match in quite decent form, having only lost once in their last five matches and having thumped Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-2 two matches ago. This is the first of two friendlies that the side have planned before the Euros and Bento will want to ensure his boys are firing on all cylinders.
Welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Portugal-Macedonia. Although only the home side is participating in this summer's European Championships, both teams will see this as an opportunity to see how ready they are to play against the world's best- though for Portugal, its quite a bit more crucial.
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