Portugal edged out Russia for a place in the finals of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship after a desperately tight Group 3 mini-tournament.
The Portuguese hosts began their campaign in style with a 4-1 win against Sweden. The Swedes took the lead early on thanks to a strike from Ndiwa Lord-Kangana, but goals from Hugo Miguel Pereira Almeida, Daniel Euripedes Adão Amoreirinha, Filipe Vilaca De Oliveira and Sergio José Organista Aguiar saw Portugal ultimately run out easy victors.
Meanwhile, Russia beat Denmark 3-1 to start their own campaign with a bang. Igor Denisov with a double and Alexander Pavlenko got on the scoresheet for the Russians.
The second round of games saw both the first-game winners maintain their 100 per cent records. Portugal overcame Denmark 3-1, with Pereira Almeida once more among the scorers, while Russia came from behind against the Swedes to secure a hard-earned 2-1 victory thanks to late goals from Alexander Danishevskiy (71 minutes) and Oleg Vlasov (82 minutes).
Those results set up a final-day showdown between the Russians and the Portuguese, with the winners guaranteed a place in this summer's eight-team finals in Liechtenstein. Portugal had the added benefit of knowing that, due to their superior goal difference, they could afford to draw and would still progress.
Full of incident
In the event the winner-take-all clash finished goalless, but was full of incident. A fiercely-contested and tense game boiled over when the Portuguese had Hugo José Matos Pereira sent off on 78 minutes for a second bookable offence.
No way through
Six minutes later Amaro Borda D'Agua Fernandes of Portugal was also dismissed when he picked up a second yellow card while Renat Yanbaev of Russia received a straight red to leave just 19 players on the pitch. Despite enjoying a one-man advantage in the closing minutes Russia could not find a way through the Portuguese defence and it was the hosts who duly progressed. Meanwhile, in the wooden spoon encounter Denmark beat Sweden 3-1 to finish third in the table.
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