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After a tense UEFA EURO 2012 play-off at the Stadium Bilino Polje in Zenica, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo emphasised that his side still have plenty of work to do if they are to progress to next summer's finals at the expense of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As is often the case, the Real Madrid CF forward was his country's biggest attacking threat, and he came close to snatching a winner soon after the break. Yet Ronaldo said after Bosnia and Herzegovina's strong second-half showing that Paulo Bento's side would take nothing for granted in Tuesday's return at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
"It's pretty much equal," he said. "Of course we'll be playing in better conditions, with our fans behind us, at home, but it'll be just as difficult. Today we got a good result away from home and we have to finish things in our home game."
Despite an encouraging display, Ronaldo underlined Portugal would need to make home advantage count. "We played well and we had four good chances to score, while they only had one," said the 26-year-old. "We have to take on the mantle of favourites because we're a team that always has a chance of winning. So we have to prove why we're favourites on the pitch. There's no point in just talking about it and not proving it in matches."
Ronaldo was also pleased with the way his side recovered from the disappointment of losing out on a direct qualifying spot in the final round of group games. "All national teams have difficult moments," he said. "We had a good qualifying campaign, but we needed a draw in Denmark and didn't manage it."
Substitute Vedad Ibišević rued his own missed chance for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the final stages, with superiority still up for grabs. "I had the chance but unfortunately the ball bobbled," said the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim forward. "That goal would have meant a lot to us, but still this result is not to be sniffed at.
"In Lisbon the atmosphere will be different, but I'm sure there will be a lot of our fans there, as at every away game. The time has come for this generation to go to a major competition and I sincerely hope that we will achieve our goal."
Senad Lulić also expressed his satisfaction at a result which leaves the tie hanging in the balance. "As we expected, the decisive moment will be Lisbon," said the S.S. Lazio midfielder. "Secretly, we hoped to win but when all things are considered, we have to be satisfied with a draw. We showed we can cope with Portugal. They had a few chances, but we threatened on several occasions, so the result is deserved."
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