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Portugal started their campaign to reach the 2005 UEFA European Women's Championship by winning on foreign soil for the first time in three years on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 win away to Ukraine in Group 4.
The home team, however, attacked with verve early on and struck the post three times in the opening 20 minutes, when Portugal goalkeeper Carla Cristina was also called upon to make a series of fine saves. Yet the visitors held firm in the face of the fierce early pressure and were soon dominating possession through accurate passing and creating opportunities of their own.
Portugal gradually took control of the match and it was no surprise when Edite Fernandes broke the deadlock in the 60th minute converting a rebound from a shot from the impressive Carla Couto. The goal spurred the Ukraine side back into action and Portugal had to be resilient in the final stages to ward off relentless attacking from the home team.
Portugal coach Nuno Cristovão was delighted to see his side make a victorious start. "It's always important to begin a qualifying tournament winning," he said. "These three points are vital if we want to achieve our goal of reaching the play-offs and making the next European Championship in England."
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