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Portugal through after nine-goal thriller

Published: Tuesday 14 October 2014, 20.15CET
Portugal 5-4 Netherlands (agg 7-4)
Portugal made it ten wins out of ten in qualifying and booked a finals spot in the process after a remarkable play-off second leg.
Portugal through after nine-goal thriller
Portugal celebrate ©FPF

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Published: Tuesday 14 October 2014, 20.15CET

Portugal through after nine-goal thriller

Portugal 5-4 Netherlands (agg 7-4)
Portugal made it ten wins out of ten in qualifying and booked a finals spot in the process after a remarkable play-off second leg.

Portugal sealed a return to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in spectacular style, an end-to-end 5-4 victory over the Netherlands in Pacos de Ferreira wrapping up a 7-4 aggregate triumph.

Portugal already had a first finals place since 2007 within their grasp after winning Thursday's first leg 2-0. When Rúben Vezo broke the deadlock on 13 minutes it was all but assured, even if Wout Weghorst equalised almost immediately – setting the tone for an evening that was tit for tat until the end.

Rúben Neves and Terence Kongolo traded headers before the interval; Ricardo's fine solo effort followed soon after it, and he struck again midway through the second half, though only after the inevitable equaliser from Nathan Aké. Trailing 6-3 on aggregate, the Netherlands went for broke; Portugal sat back, biding their time for the counterattack.

Three minutes from time they had daylight on the night too, as Bernardo Silva scored – there was still time for Aké to reply, of course, from spot. It was the final act of a fantastic match and the Jong Oranje's campaign. Portugal return to the finals with panache – the only team with a 100% record in qualifying.

Last updated: 04/06/15 4.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2015/matches/round=2000413/match=2015238/postmatch/report/index.html#portugal+edge+thriller