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Moutinho magic seals Portugal progress

Portugal 1-0 Denmark 
Qualification and Group I supremacy belong to Portugal after a João Moutinho goal took Denmark's fate out of Morten Olsen's side's hands.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark: the story in photos ©AFP/Getty Images
  • João Moutinho drives in winner in 66th minute
  • Result confirms qualification and Group I top spot for Portugal 
  • Denmark end campaign with 12 points, one above Albania who have game in hand
  • Danes will qualify automatically if Albanians fail to win in Armenia on Sunday
  • Last games: Serbia v Portugal (Sunday), Denmark – qualifying concluded

João Moutinho got the only goal of the game as Portugal confirmed top spot in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group I with a victory that leaves Denmark's fate in Albania's hands.

The match in Braga concluded the Danish campaign on a low note as the Portuguese No8 flashed in the winner in the 66th minute. With no more fixtures to play, Morten Olsen's men are one point ahead of an Albania side who visit Armenia on Sunday knowing only a victory will deny the Danes the second automatic qualifying place.

Just like in Copenhagen a year ago – when Cristiano Ronaldo's 95th-minute header won it 1-0 – there was little between the teams. The Real Madrid forward tried his luck with a low effort from 25 metres which Kasper Schmeichel dealt with comfortably while Nicklas Bendtner fired narrowly wide at the other end on the break.

The hosts slowly gained the upper hand and Moutinho zipped a drive centimetres over from the edge of the area. Simon Kjær – tasked with nullifying the Ronaldo threat – blocked a goal-bound header from the No7 before Nani almost broke the deadlock moments before the interval when his looping header struck the crossbar.

João Moutinho crashes in the winner
João Moutinho crashes in the winner©AFP/Getty Images

Denmark took the contest to the home side after the restart as Bendtner crashed a shot against the post after controlling smartly on his chest before the Wolfsburg forward headed a cross a fraction over the bar. Portugal fought back and Schmeichel redeemed himself superbly after spilling a Ronaldo effort to deny Tiago on the follow-up.

The Danish No1 could do nothing when Moutinho collected a clearance on the edge of the box, cut inside Daniel Agger and rifled the ball into the corner with his right foot. Bernardo Silva almost stroked in a second before Rui Patrício produced an outstanding save from Agger's header as the 1992 champions failed to find the equaliser.