DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 27: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal looks dejected after losing a penalty shoot out during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Portugal and Spain at Donbass Arena on June 27, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Portugal made hard work of beating Luxembourg after they had to come from behind to steal a narrow win.
Portugal made hard work of what should've been a simple victory as they eventually emerged victorious after Luxembourg took a shock lead.
The hosts got off to a fine start and looked comfortable on the ball and dangerous on the counter-attack, and showed an early glimpse of the danger to come as they sprung on the Portugal defence following a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick which was hit into the wall.
After a tense opening, it was the hosts who eventually took the lead, Daniel Da Mota, ironically Portuguese-born, taking the ball down on his chest and smashing a wonderful finish into the top corner of the net.
Portugal immediately shook off their complacency and began to threaten the home side's goal, with Ronaldo glancing a header wide and Raul Meireles only being denied by a last-ditch tackle from Tom Schnell. Cristiano Ronaldo also went close with a free-kick which had to be tipped away by Joubert in the Luxembourg goal.
In the end, it was the Real Madrid forward who got the equaliser, the hosts giving away a soft goal after making a hash of playing the ball out from defence, leaving Ronaldo with a simple finish. And yes, there was even a celebration from the 'unhappy' winger.
The teams went in level at half-time after sustained Portuguese pressure eventually came to nothing, but the break did not alleviate Luxembourg's problems. Just ten minutes into the second half, Helder Postiga gave Portugal the lead, taking advantage of more poor defending to collect Joao Moutinho's excellent pass, before swivelling to fire into the bottom corner of the net.
Portugal continued to battle to put the hosts out of sight, but despite the excellence of Moutinho's midfield play, could not find a way through. Eventually, superior fitness began to tell as the home side faded from their bright start, and Portugal took a narrow 2-1 victory. Paulo Bento will be pleased to get the points after such a scare, but there will be question marks over the manner of the victory, and he'll have to ensure his side put in a far better performance when they come up against more serious opposition.