FC Porto playmaker Deco crowned a spectacular debut for UEFA EURO 2004™ hosts Portugal with the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over his native Brazil on Saturday - their first over the South Americans since the FIFA World Cup of 1966.
Substitute Deco converted an 82nd-minute free-kick to secure the win as another Brazilian, Luiz Felipe Scolari, celebrated his first victory as Portugal coach against the side he led to World Cup success last summer. Deco's goal sparked joyful celebrations in the Antas stadium, the player's home ground and a place where he is hero-worshipped.
Pauleta opens scoring
Despite the absence of the injured Luis Figo, Portugal made a superb start against the world champions, scoring in the sixth minute through Pauleta. The FC Girondins de Bordeaux striker beat goalkeeper Marcos to a low cross from the right by the FC Internazionale winger Sérgio Conceição. It was not their first attempt on goal either as Sérgio Conceição had struck a post moments earlier.
Brazil responded well and Ronaldinho almost levelled the scores but his lob over goalkeeper Ricardo went just past the far post. Rui Costa, with a header, and Pauleta, again, tried their luck at the other end but their efforts went wide. Brazil raised their game and their captain, Cafú, brought a stretching save from Ricardo with a first-time shot from a tight angle. The other full-back, Roberto Carlos, went even closer six minutes before the break, with a trademark free-kick which left the crossbar shaking.
Moments later Rivaldo was denied in identical fashion, crashing another free-kick against the bar. Then Ronaldo just failed to convert a deflected Zé Roberto free-kick from the right and, in the last move of the first half, Ronaldinho's shot was well smothered by Ricardo. The second half began with substitute Adriano and Kleberson both going close before Ronaldinho finally equalised, after 64 minutes, when he converted a penalty after Simão had tripped him in the box.
Roberto Carlos sent off
With ten minutes to play, Roberto Carlos committed a foul and manhandled the Israeli referee, Alon Yefet. The Real Madrid CF defender was sent off but there was further punishment to follow. Deco, a 62nd-minute substitute, took the subsequent free-kick and beat Marcos with a low shot to the near post.
Ten-man Brazil pushed forward again but to no avail. Thirty-seven years after Eusébio's two goals undid Brazil in a 3-1 World Cup win at Goodison Park in England, Portugal had another famous victory to cheer.
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