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Portugal comebacks deny Russia

Jorge Braz said Portugal took "another important step" after late comebacks gave them a 2-1 win and 3-3 draw in two friendlies against fellow UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 finalists Russia.

Ricardo Fernandes (left) takes on Russia's Konstantin Maevskiy in the second friendly
Ricardo Fernandes (left) takes on Russia's Konstantin Maevskiy in the second friendly ©FPF

Portugal got the better of fellow UEFA Futsal EURO 2011 finalists Russia in an exciting two-friendly series this week in Oliveira de Azemeis.

Jorge Braz's side won 2-1 against the 2001 continental champions on Tuesday and the following day it was 3-3, the first time these teams have drawn in their seven meetings. Both times Portugal claimed a vital goal in the dying seconds.

In the first game EURO 2010 runners-up Portugal fell behind through Konstantin Maevskiy on 37 minutes only for Pedro Cary to immediately equalise and Ricardinho to win it with 28 seconds remaining.

Russia scored first once more the following day through Pula's fourth-minute strike and Sergei Sergeev then added two more to make it 3-0 at the break. However, Ricardo Fernandes and Marinho reduced the deficit for the hosts, before João Matos levelled with just 16 seconds left.

"These two games represented another important step in our preparation for the finals and it was a positive one," Braz said. "We made a lot of mistakes in the first half of the second game but the players showed enormous determination to fight back and they did just that. Russia have a lot of quality so I'm happy with the response of my players."

Having been drawn against Serbia and Azerbaijan in Group D for the finals in Croatia from 31 January, Portugal return to action against Italy on 18 and 19 October. Russia will meet Italy and Turkey in Group C.