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Portugal down Russia to restore home pride in EURO 2004 Group A

Russia 0-2 Portugal
Maniche and Rui Costa brought victory for the hosts as ten-man Russia's campaign was ended.

Maniche celebrates his goal against Russia
Maniche celebrates his goal against Russia ©Getty Images

Hosts Portugal restored their UEFA EURO 2004 hopes as goals at either end of a thrilling encounter from Maniche and Rui Costa earned a hard-fought win and ended Russia's dreams of reaching the knockout stages.

Maniche seized on Deco's pass after seven minutes to fire in the first goal before Rui Costa converted fellow substitute Cristiano Ronaldo's cross a minute from time as Portugal bounced back from their opening-day defeat by Greece with a much-improved display. Russia had to play half the game with ten men after goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov was sent off on the stroke of half-time for handling outside the area.

EURO 2004: All you need to know

Both starting lineups revealed surprises. Russia's two enforced changes were no shock, with Dmitri Loskov and Aleksei Bugayev coming in for the expelled Aleksandr Mostovoi and the suspended Roman Sharonov. Yet Georgi Yartsev's decision to drop Dmitri Bulykin and play Aleksandr Kerzhakov in attack supported by another 21-year-old, Marat Izmailov, raised eyebrows at the Estádio da Luz.

Luiz Felipe Scolari provided more surprises. The decision to introduce Deco for Rui Costa in the playmaking role was expected but the defensive cull that saw Paulo Ferreira, Rui Jorge and Fernando Couto supplanted by Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho and Nuno Valente was less predictable. The net effect was that Portugal had five players from UEFA Champions League winners FC Porto lining up against club colleague Dmitri Alenichev.

Best goals of EURO 2004

That Porto combination worked to wonderful effect for Portugal on seven minutes. The ball was worked to Deco from a Luís Figo free-kick and Porto's adopted son drilled a dangerous low ball into the box. Club-mate Maniche controlled superbly before firing into the bottom corner for his first international goal.

Russia were pinned back in their own half, their frustration heightened when defensive linchpin Aleksei Smertin received a booking on 16 minutes ruling him out of the final Group A match against Greece. Minutes earlier, Russia had briefly lifted the siege on their goal but Alenichev was crowded out in the area after fine approach play from Loskov and Kerzhakov.

Portugal were struggling to translate their lion's share of possession into chances. They upped the tempo approaching the half-hour when Carvalho headed over and then Pauleta narrowly failed to reach Figo's cross, delivered after the Portugal captain had delighted the crowd with three stepovers. Deco volleyed wildly over from close range and Maniche and Deco almost played in Pauleta only for a fine interception by Bugayev.

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Portugal were literally given a helping hand on the stroke of half-time when Ovchinnikov was sent off as he raced out to deny Pauleta. The talismanic goalkeeper was expelled and Evgeni Aldonin was sacrificed as reserve keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev came in; Russia escaped further censure as Figo curled the resulting free-kick wide.

Malafeev was forced into action five minutes after the restart, diving full length to turn away Nuno Valente's powerful drive. But Portugal were struggling to exploit their numerical advantage and the increasingly influential Andrei Karyaka flashed an effort across the face of goal. He then stung Ricardo's fingers with a fierce shot as Russia refused to accept their fate meekly.

Nuno Gomes and Rui Costa replaced Pauleta and Simão as Portugal sought greater urgency and the changes almost brought instant reward after 64 minutes. An excellent move saw Nuno Gomes forward Deco's pass to Figo but his shot was brilliantly turned on to the post by Malafeev; Deco fired the over the bar on the rebound.

Russia pushed hard for an equaliser but failed to threaten. Instead Portugal exploited the increased space and Rui Costa sealed a deserved victory.

EURO 2004: Team of the Tournament


Russia line up in Lisbon
Russia line up in LisbonBob Thomas Sports Photography vi

Russia: Ovchinnikov; Sennikov, Bugaev, Smertin (c), Evseev; Karyaka (Bulykin 79), Izmailov (Bystrov 72), Aldonin (Malafeev 45), Loskov , Alenichev; Kerzhakov
Substitutes: Akinfeev, Radimov, Sychev, Semshov, Gusev, Anyukov, Kirichenko
Coach: Georgi Yartsev

Portugal: Ricardo; Nuno Valente, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Miguel; Simão (Rui Costa 63), Costinha, Deco, Maniche, Figo (c) (Ronaldo 78); Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 57)
Substitutes: Quim, José Moreira, Paulo Ferreira, Rui Jorge, Fernando Couto, Petit, Beto, Tiago, Hélder Postiga
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway)

Man of the Match: Maniche (Portugal)