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.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.