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Portugal pegged back in Vaduz

Saturday, 9 October 2004

By Onofre Costa

[1] Liechtenstein came from two goals down to earn their first-ever point in FIFA World Cup qualifying in remarkable fashion, holding UEFA EURO 2004™ runners-up Portugal to a 2-2 draw.

Famous result

[2] Goals from Franz Burgmeier and Thomas Beck secured a famous draw for the home side at the Rheinpark stadium in Vaduz after Pauleta and a Daniel Hasler own goal had seemingly set the visitors on their way to a routine win. Portugal are now in joint second place in Group 3 with seven points, three behind leaders Slovakia with a game in hand.

Frick chance

[3] The visitors were quickly into their stride, pushing Liechtenstein back inside their own penalty area from the first minute. However, it was the home side who created the first chance through Mario Frick, whose powerful right-foot shot forced Ricardo into early action.

Pauleta pounces

[4] Portugal responded almost immediately, Pauleta shooting just wide with ten minutes gone before Deco's free-kick just cleared the angle of post and crossbar. The visitors duly broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, Pauleta meeting Cristiano Ronaldo's left-wing cross with a deft overhead touch to beat goalkeeper Peter Jehle.

Own goal

[5] Liechtenstein fought back strongly and could have drawn level on the half-hour when Ricardo misjudged Burgmeier's cross from the left but Beck could only head wide. He was made to pay for his profligacy six minutes before the interval as Deco's pass set Simão Sambrosa away down the right and the SL Benfica winger's cross was turned into his own net by Hasler.

Burgmeier bonus

[6] The home supporters were celebrating three minutes into the second period as Liechtenstein revived their hopes in dramatic fashion against a relaxed-looking Portuguese defence. Beck was allowed to dribble a long way forward before finding Burgmeier, who benefited from an unfortunate touch off Portugal right-back Paulo Ferreira to drive past Ricardo.

Jehle stop

[7] Urged on by 3,518 spectators Liechtenstein strove for an equaliser but it was the visitors who looked the more likely scorers, Pauleta's chip beating Jehle but also clearing the crossbar six minutes past the hour. Moments later, the Liechtenstein goalkeeper produced a fine stop to keep out a right-foot shot from substitute Hélder Postiga.

Bizarre equaliser

[8] The visitors were stunned 14 minutes from time as Beck's searching free-kick evaded everybody and caught out Ricardo to level the scores. Stung, Portugal threw everything forward in the remaining minutes, but Liechtenstein produced a solid and doughty defensive display to hold on for an exceptional result.

Russian repeat

[9] Portugal must recover quickly from this setback as they face Russia at the Estádio José Alvalade on Wednesday night in a repeat of the EURO 2004™ Group A encounter. Liechtenstein travel to Luxembourg on the same night.

Raphael Rohrer of Liechtenstein is watched by Portugal's Jorge Ribeiro