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Three-Goal Denmark Shock Portugal

Portugal 2-3 Denmark

A world-class display by Deco was simply not enough to make Portugal see off Denmark, who are now sharing leadership of Group 1 with Sweden and Albania.

Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz named a starting XI with two surprises as Antunes and Carlos Martins, who had been starters in the previous two games, made way for Paulo Ferreira and Maniche.

Even though Paulo Ferreira plays best in the right side of the defence, Queiroz preferred him over the Lecce man, who had failed to impress against Malta last week.

Denmark surprisingly started out very well and wasted a great chance to break the deadlock in the first minute, when Daniel Jensen played Bendtner through and the Arsenal youngster, isolated, managed to move past Quim but could not direct the ball goalwards, sending it right against the post.

Portugal did not take long to react and on six minutes, Paulo Ferreira, with a great move down the left flank, moved towards the center of the field before firing a well-placed shot with his right foot that made Andersen pull out a flying save to deny the opening goal.

Deco was proving to be Portugal's most inspired man as most of their game was coming from the Brazilian-born player's feet. On 42 minutes, Portugal scored their first of the night. Nani sent the ball past Andersen after a low cross by Hugo Almeida from the left.

Portugal had a great chance to double their lead in the 51st minute. Hugo Almeida was the creator as he found Simão alone in the center, but the Atlético de Madrid star's left-shoot shot went over the bar.

The home team would waste yet another marvellous opportunity just five minutes later. Bosingwa delivered a cross to Nani, who should have scored but his effort was weak and went straight into Andersen's hands.

In the 73rd minute, Portugal would once again fail to score the second of the night. Deco saw Danny running and sent a magical throughpass to him, the Zenit man had just the keeper to beat but his shot went wide of the left post.

On 76 minutes, Deco served Danny, who crossed from the right straight into the box but Nuno Gomes, with no opposition, could not find the net.

With 83 minutes gone, Denmark shockingly found the equaliser against all odds. Bendtner, with a great individual move down the left, edged past Bosingwa before sending a well-placed shot straight into the net.

Just one minute later, Nuno Gomes was brought down in the area and the referee signalled a penalty. Deco stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake to put Portugal back in the lead. It was a deserved goal for the Chelsea man, who was undoubtedly Portugal's best player during the match.

However, the game was far from over and Denmark would score twice to clinch the three points. On 89 minutes, Poulsen netted with a strong header after a corner from the left.

There was still time for more and the away side would score their third two minutes into extra time. Jensen's left-foot shot from outside the box hit Pepe and went straight into the net, with Quim completely helpess.

Portugal will be cursing their luck as they could have easily taken the three points but their lack of finishing inspiration allowed Denmark to be the happier side.

Portugal: Quim, Bosingwa, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Deco, Raul Meireles, Maniche, Nani (João Moutinho 87'), Simão (Danny 71'), Hugo Almeida (Nuno Gomes 71').

Denmark: Stephan Andersen, Leon Andreasen (Martin Bernburg 88'), Lars Jacobsen (Michael Silberbauer 44'), Daniel Agger, Martin Laursen, Daniel Jensen, Christian Poulsen, Dennis Rommedahl, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Peter Løvenkrands (Jonas Borring 80'), Nicklas Bendtner.

Portugal 2-3 Denmark

1-0 Nani 42'
1-1 Bendtner 83'
2-1 Deco 85'
2-2 Poulsen 89'
2-3 Daniel Jensen 90+2'

Luís Mira
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