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Portugal power to victory

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

[1] Portugal went three points clear at the top of FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 3 after a comfortable win against the section's bottom side Luxembourg.

Early own-goal

[2] Portugal scored seven against Russia in their last outing and when Ben Federspiel turned the ball into his own goal after only eleven minutes the signs were not good for the home team. A 28th-minute strike from Cristiano Ronaldo before one second-half goal from Maniche and two by Pauleta completed an emphatic victory.

Boa Morte start

[3] Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was forced to change his lineup because of injuries to SL Benfica duo Miguel and Simão Sabrosa. Chelsea FC's Paulo Ferreira switched to his preferred right flank and was replaced on the opposite wing by Maniche's younger brother Jorge Ribeiro, behind Luís Boa Morte in midfield.

Bizarre own goal

[4] The Fulham FC winger was instrumental in the opening goal, when he was presented with an easy chance from Ferreira's cross but contrived to fire against the bar, though his blushes were spared as the ball hit defender Federspiel and bounced in. It was the worst possible start for Luxembourg who were without the suspended Jeff Strasser, and the injured trio of Manuel Cardoni, Gregory Molitor and Gordon Braun.

Brief rally

[5] Luxembourg briefly rallied in front of a capacity Josy Barthel crowd and one of their own set of brothers, Alphonse Leweck, had an effort on 25 minutes, but it never threatened Ricardo's goal. Portugal hit back almost immediately when Ronaldo headed in Deco's left-wing corner at the far post, with Besic helpless.

Maniche volley

[6] Ricardo Quaresma came on for Boa Morte at the interval, and the FC Porto winger quickly won a free-kick from which Ricardo Carvalho almost scored with a back-heel but was denied by the woodwork. Maniche confirmed the win with a 51st-minute volley from the edge of the box, which took a big deflection off Daniel Huss. Huss almost found the right net with a fierce free-kick on the hour that Ricardo collected at the second attempt.

Pauleta double

[7] With Allan Simonsen's side pushing for a consolation, Pauleta scored on the break on 67 minutes as he latched on to Jorge Andrade's long pass and he completed the rout from the penalty spot with eight minutes remaining after picking himself up following René Peters' foul. Portugal next travel to face their closest group rivals Slovakia on 30 March, on the same night that Luxembourg will be seeking their first point in Latvia.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Luxembourg