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Euro WCQ Play-Off: Ronaldo rises to the occasion for Portugal

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The long road to Brazil 2014 entered its final leg yesterday when the European sides kick started the play-offs for the remaining four spots. All eyes were undoubtedly on the Ronaldo v Zlatan clash at the Estadio Da Luz where Portugal welcomed Sweden in a blockbuster tie. The Real Madrid superstar came out trumps against the PSG striker on the night, scoring a late winner to seal a 1-0 victory for Portugal.

Portugal’s World Cup hopes always rested on the shoulders of their talismanic captain and he failed to disappoint the home crowd as he dived low to meet Miguel Veloso’s cross eight minutes from time to give his side a slender lead going into the 2nd leg on Tuesday. The two sides canceled each other for most of the game, with Sweden making the early running though Johan Elmander and Kim Kallstrom while the home side spurned a great early chance through Joao Moutinho.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic couldn’t work his magic on the night as Portugal grew stronger in the 2nd half and deservingly took the lead in the 82nd minute when Ronaldo ghosted between two defenders to meet Veloso’s cross. The attacker even rattled the woodwork later in the game as Portugal securely held on to the slender lead to carry to the 2nd leg.

Teams:

Portugal: Patricio (Gk), Alves, Pepe, Coentrao, Pereira, Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles (Josue 78’), Nani, Ronaldo, Postiga (Almeida 66’)

Sweden: Isaksson (Gk), Lustig, Nilsson, Olsson, Antonsson, Elm (Wernbloom 72’), Larsson, Kallstrom (Svensson 77’), Kacaniklic, Ibrahimovic, Elmander (Gerndt 88’)

Final Score: Portugal 1-0 Sweden (Ronaldo 82’)