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  • August 10, 2011
  • • 21:00
  • • Estádio Do Algarve, São João da Venda
  • Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

Portugal 5-0 Luxembourg: Classy Coentrao key in five star victory

Portugal 5-0 Luxembourg: Classy Coentrao key in five star victory

The new Real Madrid arrival was a constant danger down the left-hand side and thoroughly deserved his goal during a home thrashing of outclassed Luxembourg.

Paulo Bento's Portugal brushed aside Luxembourg in a mismatched friendly encounter, scoring five as the team inspired by the excellent Fabio Coentrao surged forward at every opportunity.

The right back scored a towering header to make it 3-0 and was unlucky not to add to his tally, as he and his teammates grew in confidence after a spirited start by the visitors. Hugo Almeida claimed a brace following his introduction at half time, while Heider Postiga and Cristiano Ronaldo both hit the net in the first period with well-taken efforts.

Portugal went into Wednesday's clash as overwhelming favourites against the European minnows and it was no surprise to see them on the front foot early on. The home side were surprised, however, by a physical, determined effort from Luxembourg, and a tense opening 20 minutes played out with few clear chances.

Fabio Coentrao went close with a header after sterling work down the right by Joao Pereira, before Portugal almost went one down. Charles Leweck took advantage of confusion in the penalty area to wriggle free, but his effort ricocheted onto the top of Rui Patricio's net.

With 25 minutes gone the home team were able to make the breakthrough, with Cristiano Ronaldo proving crucial in both the first-half goals. The Real Madrid man stormed through before being cut down by goalkeeper Jonathan Jouber in what was a clear penalty; advantage was played though, leaving Helder Postiga to delicately chip into the open net.

Ronaldo was then able to double the advantage just before half time, driving a well-executed free kick into the right-hand corner to put Portugal in a commanding position as they went into the break.

Already up against it, Luxembourg must have been relieved to see Ronaldo fail to enter for the second half; but their spirits could hardly have been raised on witnessing Manchester United's Community Shield hero Nani enter for his former club team mate. Their fears were well-founded, as it took the hosts just one minute to add to the scoreline.

This time it was Coentrao who basked in the fans' adulation, with a brilliant headed goal. Right back Pereira also deserved his share of the glory, as he bombed past his opposite number before delivering a perfectly weighted cross to the Madrid man. The goal all but killed off the game, with the margin of Portuguese victory the only loose end that still needed to be tied.

The fourth arrived just before the hour mark, thanks to a moment of magic from fellow substitute Hugo Almeida. The No. 9 received an awkward lofted ball 25m from goal, and took just one touch before looping a spectacular volley over the head of Jouber and in the back of the net, to the obvious delight of his team mates.

Coentrao came within inches of adding his second of the game, but his swerving effort hit the post and bounced clear. It was no more than a temporary respite; with Portugal absolutely rampant, Almeida acrobatically turned in Nani's cross to mark the fifth with just over 70 minutes on the clock.

With the quintet of goals secured, Paulo Bento's charges let their foot off the gas a little and strolled through the remainder of the game. Luxembourg were even afforded a rare opportunity which saw Patricio tip the ball over the bar at full-stretch. Portugal record their third straight victory, although much tougher tests are on the horizon with European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus, Iceland and Denmark looming.