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Denmark defeated on Bento's Portugal debut

Portugal 3-1 Denmark
Nani's two first-half goals put the hosts in control as Paulo Bento's debut as Portugal coach went to plan.

Denmark defeated on Bento's Portugal debut
Denmark defeated on Bento's Portugal debut ©UEFA.com

Paulo Bento's reign as Portugal coach got off to the best possible start as his side defeated Denmark in an entertaining UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier at the Estádio do Dragão.

Two goals in two first-half minutes from Nani put the home team in control. Morten Olsen's side hit back when Ricardo Carvalho put through his own net but Cristiano Ronaldo sealed Portugal's first Group H win, leaving them in good spirits ahead of Tuesday's trip to Iceland. Denmark will attempt to get back on the winning trail against Cyprus in Copenhagen.

Despite losing two of their last three encounters with Denmark, the home side started on the front foot and João Moutinho's early shot was deflected over as they sought to pin the visitors back in their own half. Martin Vingaard had Denmark's first chance in the 11th minute but his effort was straight at Eduardo.

A tight, tense encounter was developing in front of a nervy Dragão crowd, but home captain Ronaldo began to come to the fore. It was he who created the opener on 29 minutes, sending in a low cross from the left which fellow winger Nani coolly slipped under Thomas Sørensen. The Manchester United FC man clearly has a liking for Denmark, having scored against them on his Portugal debut back in September 2006. He struck again moments later, hammering a superb, rising left-footer past Sørensen and into the roof of the net as the Danish defence backed off.

It was the goalkeeper's last action of the evening as he was forced off with an injury sustained as he attempted to prevent the first goal, and replaced by Anders Lindegaard. The new man was soon in the thick of things, acrobatically tipping wide Ronaldo's fizzing shot from outside the box. Portugal began the second period in similar fashion and the skipper came yet closer, smacking a shot against a post after a fleet-footed run by Fábio Coentrão. The busy Lindegaard again denied Ronaldo on 76 minutes with a sprawling save to push his low shot around the post.

With 11 minutes to go the visitors set up an exciting finish when Vingaard's corner skimmed off the unfortunate Carvalho and crept just inside Eduardo's far post. Denmark had stunned Portugal with a stirring late fightback to win the last time the two sides met on these shores in September 2008, but Bento's men clinched matters when Ronaldo finished smartly from Nani's perfect pass.