No problems for Portuguese
Saturday, 8 November 2003
Group 6: Portugal have kept alive their 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship dreams.
Portugal were convincing winners of Group 6 to take their place in the European play-offs for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship.
Orlando Duarte's side, which finished third at the last staging of the global event, had no troubles, defeating group rivals Greece and Albania in convincing fashion. The mini-tournament was held at the Pavilhão da Universidade in Braga and the home team gave their fans plenty to cheer.
Portugal set the standard in the very first match against Greece, with only in-form goalkeeper Konstantinos Pappas preventing an even bigger rout than the 8-1 scoreline. The home team were quickly in their stride, scoring seven goals without reply. Gonçalo Alves led the way with a double, along with further efforts from Arnaldo, Ivan, André Lima, Formiga and an own goal. Panayotis Lioutas earned the Greeks a consolation but there was still time for Leo to add an eighth while Stefanos Soilemes was dismissed for Greece.
Lioutas hits four
Greece bounced back in their next, and final, fixture with a 13-4 victory against Albania. Panagiotis Lioutas opened the scoring in the first minute and went on to hit four goals in the first half while there was also a hat-trick for Stefanos Michalis after the break. Albania gave their all and had the pleasure of seeing Ilir Kuluraj pick up a hat-trick of his own.
Six for Leo
Portugal only needed a point against Albania to make absolutely sure but given the Albanian defeat by the Greeks, coach Duarte was confident of success. He began with many of the substitutes from the first game but they were still too strong and picked up an 18-6 success. Leo was the star of the show scoring six times but that man Kuluraj managed to capitalise on some sloppy Portuguese play to score his second treble in two games.