Portugal have defeated Sweden 1-0 at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, but for the majority of the game it looked as if the Swedish team would hold out against a wasteful Portuguese attack. The game was in the end decided by an 82nd minute Cristiano Ronaldo header after he went one-on-one with Martin Olsson. The Portuguese had an early chance through João Moutinho in the 5th when Ronaldo put him past the defence but he could only manage to hit the side netting. Sweden had their first real chance a minute later when Johan Elmander’s volley missed the target after a great cross from Mikael Lustig. Sebastian Larsson had another chance for the visitors in the 20th, but his shot was saved by Rui Patricio. Not much else came from the first half however, with Portugal unable to break Sweden’s defence.
The second half saw the best chance of the game go to Portugal, after Andreas Isaksson’s save came to Hélder Postiga, whose shot was blocked by Lustig on the line. Lustig cleared but the ball came off Pepe to Ronaldo, who then proceeded to fire the ball over the bar. Four minutes later Nani had his cross headed away by Per Nilsson. Three minutes after that Fábio Coentrão made his way past Larsson, but the ball was booted away by Lustig. In the 62nd Moutinho got a shot off only for it to be blocked brilliantly by centre-half Mikael Antonsson. Portugal continued to create and waste chances, with wayward shooting their main issue. This continued for a long time until Ronaldo finally struck. Miguel Veloso put the cross in towards Ronaldo who was one-on-one against Olsson, who couldn’t match the Portuguese captain aerially. Portugal and more specifically Ronaldo had another chance three minutes later when substitute Hugo Almeida’s cross found the head of Ronaldo who hit the bar. Nothing else happened in the match which was too eventful, as Portugal claimed a well-deserved 1-0 victory, giving them the advantage for the return leg at Friends Arena in Solna.
In other matches
Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavik: Iceland and Croatia have drawn 0-0 despite the visitors having 11 shots to 1 and the home side having Olafur Skulason sent off in the 51st minute.
Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kyiv: Second half goals to Roman Zozulya and Andriy Yarmolenko have given Ukraine a 2-0 victory over France.
Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus: Greece have defeated Romania 3-1 at home after a brace from Kostas Mitroglou and a goal from Dimitris Salpingidis. The Romanian goal was scored by Bogdan Stancu.
Lisbon – Estádio da Luz
Portugal 1 (Cristiano Ronaldo 82)
Referee: Rizzoli (Ita)
Portugal: Rui Patricio – Fábio Coentrão, Bruno Alves, Pepe, João Pereira, Raul Meireles (Josué 78), Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder Postiga (Hugo Almeida 66), Nani.
Sweden: Isaksson – Olsson, Antonsson, Nilsson, Lustig, Källström (Svensson 78), Elm (Wernbloom 72), Kačaniklić, Larsson, Ibrahimović, Elmander.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Ronaldo had an excellent game, scoring the only goal and nearly scoring a couple of others. He was constantly providing a target in attack against a very solid Swedish defence and created numerous chances.
2. Mikael Antonsson (Sweden)
Antonsson was the main man in the Swedish defence, and was one of the main reasons that they held on for such a long time. He was there to meet most of the Portuguese crosses and made a perfect sliding block to deny a near-certain goal in the 62nd.
3. João Moutinho (Portugal)
Moutinho was one of Portugal’s top attacking players on the night, getting numerous scoring opportunities through great positioning. He was unlucky not to score a goal in the 5th when great positioning got him past the defence.
4. Mikael Lustig (Sweden)
Lustig played a brilliant game at right back, quelling many a Portuguese move. He was also very effective going forward, putting in a perfect cross for Elmander early on. Made a critical block to a shot from Postiga early in the second half.
5. Sebastian Larsson (Sweden)
Larsson was a great transitional player for the Swedes, creating chances and helping out in defence. Was unlucky not to score in the twentieth when his shot was well-saved by Rui Patricio.