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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 June, 2004, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Russia 0-2 Portugal

Referee Terje Hauge sends off Sergei Ovchinnikov
Portugal got their Euro 2004 campaign on the road as Russia's interest in the European Championship came to a halt.

The tournament hosts took an early lead after Deco fired the ball into the area and Porto team-mate Maniche swivelled to create space before firing home.

Just before half-time goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov was sent off for handball.

To their credit Russia never gave up, though Luis Figo hit the post and late on substitute Rui Costa added a second, poking home Cristiano Ronaldo's cross.

Portugal had been sluggish in the extreme on Saturday in their surprise defeat to Greece, but Wednesday saw Luis Felipe Scolari's side adopt a brisker tempo, with Figo given a free role.

It was a tactical switch that brought the best of the Real Madrid player, notably just before the half-hour when he went on a slaloming run, bamboozling the Russian defence with a succession of stepovers, only for his cross to elude Pauleta.

Just past the hour Figo hit the woodwork after Portugal cut Russia apart with some swift one-touch passing involving Rui Costa, Deco and Nuno Gomes.

After Saturday's trauma, Portugal's nerves were quickly settled by that early goal from Maniche.

It was made in Porto, as Deco drilled the ball into the box, a cross Maniche deftly controlled, before turning in a flash past Vadim Evseev to send an unstoppable half-volley past Ovchinnikov.

Portugal swarmed forward and as Russia tried to stem the tide, Alexei Smertin and Evseev were booked for challenges on Deco and Figo.

KEY MOMENTS
7 mins: Maniche gives Portugal an early lead
47 mins: Ovchinnikov is sent off
64 mins: Figo's shot comes off the post
88 mins: Rui Costa scores from close range

Amid all this Portuguese domination, Russia were singularly unable to test Ricardo, their best efforts two tame Dmitry Loskov free-kicks.

A minute before the interval Russia's campaign turned into farce.

Ovchinnikov was red-carded after referee Terje Hauge adjudged he had handled Sennikov's woeful backpass under pressure from Pauleta.

Viacheslav Malafeev was brought on to replace Ovchinnikov and he was soon into action palming away Nuno Valente's rising shot and then a Deco free-kick.

Russia kept plugging away and Ricardo had to react quickly to beat away Andrei Karyaka's fierce shot and in the closing stages the Portuguese endured some tense moments as Georgy Yartsev's side pressed forward.

But in the 89th minute Rui Costa made the win safe, prodding home Ronaldo's cross from the left.

Despite the win, Portugal's Euro 2004 hopes still hang in the balance and Scolari's side will have to win Sunday's final group game against Iberian rivals Spain.


Russia: Ovchinnikov, Evseev, Smertin, Bugaev, Sennikov, Alenitchev, Aldonin (Malafeev 45), Loskov, Kariaka (Boulykin 79), Izmailov (Bystrov 72), Kerzhakov.
Subs not used: Akinfeev, Aniukov, Gusev, Kirichenko, Radimov, Semshov, Sychev.

Sent Off: Ovchinnikov (45).
Booked: Smertin, Evseev, Alenitchev.

Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Figo (Ronaldo 78), Maniche, Deco, Simao (Rui Costa 63), Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 57).
Subs not used: Beto, Couto, Moreira, Paulo Ferreira, Petit, Postiga, Quim, Rui Jorge, Tiago.

Booked: Ricardo Carvalho, Deco.

Attendance: 58,000.

Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway).


OFFICIAL STATS BY UEFA
Category Russia Portugal
Total shots 6 15
Shots on target 1 9
Possession 44% 56%
Corners won 1 6
Fouls committed 21 18
Offsides 1 3
Bookings 4 2
Sent Off 1 0



TRIVIA

  • Russia are now eliminated after losing their first two matches. This is the third successive time they have finished fourth and last in the group following their 1992 and 1996 campaigns.
  • Russia have broken the competition record for matches without a win after this defeat. The record now stands at nine matches. Russia's last win dates back to 22 June 1988 when the Soviet Union, as Russia was then called, beat Italy 2-0 in the semi-finals.
  • Russia's goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov was sent off in the 45th minute. He is only the fourth player to see red in the first half of a European Championship match. This red card marked Russia's second at Euro 2004 and their third in the history of the European Championship. They have now equalled the championship record of Yugoslavia.
  • Rui Costa's goal made him the second oldest Portuguese player to net at a European Championship at the age of 32. The Portuguese record is held by Nené who scored at the age of 34 at Euro 1984 against Romania.





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