Defensive Mistakes Leave Portugal Reeling

An uncharacteristically poor defensive showing left the Seleccao in a poor position in their Euro 2012 qualification group after a 4-4 draw against minnows Cyprus. At least, we thought they were minnows. Cyprus started the night off well with a goal from Anoleftis after some horrible defending from Miguel. Hugo Almeida got the game going for Portugal just five minutes later when he headed in a pin-point Nani cross. Konstantinou then put Cyprus back in front after taking advantage of a mistake from Raul Meireles to slot home past Eduardo. Portugal were then level after Raul Meireles sent a low left-foot drive past the Cyproit goalkeeper. That is how Portugal went into the locker room, level with Cyprus at 2-2. Portugal’s attack had been fluent, even if it was unorganized, but their defense was unorganized and chaotic, with Miguel and Meireles to blame for the first and second goals, respectively. Portugal walked out of the locker room knowing that they would have to step up if they were going to even have a chance of winning. Portugal did step up, with Quaresma proving his worth with a series of surging runs. Portugal got off to a great start after Danny headed in from a Coentrao cross to make the score 3-2 Portugal. But of course, Cyprus scored again. This time, a perfect defense-splitting ball was enough to send Okkas one-on-one with Eduardo, and the Cypriot player made no mistake in his finish. Portugal had something else to say, though. Quaresma took the corner kick, which was headed straight into the path of the on-rushing Manuel Fernandes, who hammered the ball into the upper left hand corner of the net. Sadly, it wouldn’t end that way. Avraam scored the late equalizer to give Cyprus a well-deserved 4-4 draw against Portugal.

Final score – Portugal 4-4 Cyprus

Portugal – Eduardo, Miguel, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho, Fabio Coentrao, Manuel Fernandes (Joao Moutinho, 79), Raul Meireles, Danny (Liedson, 61), Nani, Hugo Almeida (Yannick, 89), Ricardo Quaresma

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