Cardinal double takes Portugal past Ukraine

Ukraine 1-2 Portugal
A goal early in each half from Cardinal, who came into the finals off a long injury and without a club, sent Portugal into Thursday's semis.

Cardinal double takes Portugal past Ukraine
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Cardinal, who came into UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 having not played a competitive game since June and without a club, struck early in each half to take Portugal into Thursday's semi-finals.

His first goal was cancelled out by Yevgen Valenko but Ukraine had no answer to Cardinal's second, made by Ricardinho, who put on yet another superb display. Portugal face Italy or Croatia on Thursday as they aim to reach their second final after 2010.

Ukraine, missing the suspended Oleksandr Sorokin, gave Portugal an early scare when Denys Ovsyannikov's pass was met with a clever flick by Yevgen Rogachov that João Benedito just about kept out. At the other end Dmytro Lytvynenko was Ukraine's third different starting keeper of the finals but while his colleagues had not conceded a group goal, he was beaten in the third minute.

Arnaldo Pereira played a subtle pass at the end of a solo run and the ball was turned in after some neat footwork by Cardinal, his job as pivot even more important in the absence of Joel Queirós, like Pedro Costa out injured. Portugal, orchestrated as ever by Ricardinho, were having most of the play but Ukraine did break at speed and Rogachov again stung Benedito's palms. Cardinal also shot over after an outrageous pitch-long pass by Ricardinho.

The equaliser came with just under eight minutes left in the half. Ricardinho tackled Petro Shoturma, but Valenko smashed in the loose ball. Portugal, with the loudest fans of any team left in Antwerp, were kept at bay until the break.

As usual, Portugal changed their goalkeeper at the interval with André Sousa coming on. Lytvynenko denied Cardinal but not long after Cardinal did beat the goalkeeper to his right with a low shot after a Ricardinho kick-in.

Lytvynenko made a vital saving tackle on Leitão and got his foot to a Ricardinho volley. Sousa made a fine save from Vitaliy Kiselyov while at the other end Ricardo Fernandes had a shot blocked by a defender as Portugal held on, despite Denys Ovsyannikov coming on as flying goalkeeper.

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