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Portugal pile on pain for Poom

Wednesday, 8 September 2004

By Onofre Costa at Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa

[1] A late flurry of goals helped Portugal to a convincing Group 3 victory over Estonia as Luiz Filipe Scolari's side enjoyed their first competitive match on home soil since their UEFA EURO 2004™ final defeat by Greece.

Poom milestone

[2] Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock on 76 minutes, before Hélder Postiga, twice, and Pauleta spoiled Mart Poom's 100th international for Estonia with goals in the final ten minutes, giving the scoreline an emphatic look that belied a strong showing from Arno Pijpers' side.

Deco shot

[3] Estonia came into the match top of the group after victories over Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, but Portugal were soon in command, and came close to going ahead on five minutes when Maniche sent a volley narrowly wide. Ten minutes later, Deco's shot from distance flew just over with Poom stranded.

Portugal scare

[4] Estonia slowly worked their way into the match then created two good chances on 31 minutes. Ingemar Teever's header was clawed away by Ricardo who was then beaten as he came out to clear the subsequent corner, but Costinha was on hand to clear Raio Piiroja's header off the line.

Estonia frustrate

[5] Estonia kept ten men behind the ball and Portugal struggled to find a way through, Deco coming closest with a header on 44 minutes. Scolari made one change at the break, replacing Maniche with Postiga, and Portugal started with renewed drive. On 47 minutes Paulo Ferreira crossed low from the right to Simão Sabrosa whose shot was turned away by Poom. But Estonia too looked dangerous and Andres Oper hit the post with a header then somehow shot over when the rebound fell to his feet.

Ronaldo breakthrough

[6] It was Portugal, however, who were gaining the momentum and they finally found a way through 14 minutes from time when Deco's curling cross from the right picked out an unmarked Ronaldo to head the home side in front.

Estonia crushed

[7] Estonia pressed for an equaliser but left themselves exposed at the back and Portugal took full advantage. Ten minutes from time Ronaldo crossed low for Postiga to double the lead and six minutes later, Pauleta added the third, heading in substitute Miguel's cross from the right.

Postiga double

[8] Postiga scored his second and Portugal's fourth in the penultimate minute when he headed in another fine cross from Ronaldo, giving the scoreline a flattering sheen that did scant justice to a tireless Estonian effort.

Simão Sabrosa of Portugal with Estonia's Teet Allas