Portugal are heading into the second leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff tie against Sweden with a lead, but the Swedes will have everything to play for on Tuesday. Even though Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co. were unable to produce an away goal, they turned in a solid showing and head home down by just one goal. Cristiano Ronaldo hit the back of the net in the 82nd minute, giving his side a 1-0 lead after 90 minutes.
Sebastian Larsson had the best chance of the first half, but Rui Patricio came up with a big save to keep Sweden off the scoreboard. Johan Elmander set up his shot from 12 yards with a square ball that Ibrahimovic let fall to Larsson in space with a great dummy run, but the ensuing shot was right to the center of the goal. Two minutes later, Sweden's second best chance came when Kim Kallstrom missed inches wide with a free kick.
Portugal were very unlucky not to score in the 50th minute off an incredible pinball sequence in the Sweden penalty area. Andreas Isaksson flapped at the ball, which hit off his face at one point, and Mikael Lustig had to clear the ball off the line. Ronaldo's follow-up shot flew just over the crossbar.
Referee Nicola Rizzoli made a couple of suspect calls in the buildup to the goal, booking Ronaldo for a phantom foul on Isaksson and waving play on when Elmander went down like he'd been shot in the penalty area. There should have been a yellow shown to Elmander for diving or a penalty given for the contact made by Joao Pereira, but Rizzoli strangely saw nothing of consequence occur.
Two minutes after that Elmander penalty shot, Portugal took the lead. Seconds after a corner was cleared, Miguel Veloso found space down the left wing and hit a cross into the box toward the back post. Ronaldo timed his run perfectly and directed a diving header past Isaksson to give Portugal a crucial lead.
Portugal were the more assertive team in the final minutes, but couldn't add to their lead, though Ronaldo hit the crossbar in the 85th minute. The Portuguese have the advantage heading into the second leg, but will a one goal home win be enough?
Portugal: Patricio, Coentrao, Pepe, Alves, Pereira, Veloso, Meireles (Josue 78'), Moutinho, Ronaldo, Postiga (Almeida 66'), Nani
Goals: Ronaldo (82')
Sweden: Isaksson, Olsson, Antonsson, Nilsson, Lustig, Elm (Wernbloom 72'), Kallstrom (Svensson 78'), Larsson, Ibrahimovic, Kacaniklic, Elmander (Gerndt 88')