Portugal kept alive their World Cup qualifying hopes when they held Group One leaders Denmark to a 1-1 draw thanks to Liedson's 86th-minute equaliser on his international debut, but the problems that have dogged them throughout the campaign continued. Coach Carlos Queiroz said his team were too wasteful in front of goal and they have now won just two of their seven games.
Denmark top the group with 17 points, four ahead of second-placed Hungary who lost 2-1 at home to third-placed Sweden, who have 12 points. Portugal are fourth with 10. The hosts opened the scoring three minutes before half-time when Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner controlled a high ball from Michael Silberbauer in the middle of the penalty area and blasted it into the roof of the net.
Portugal had many chances to score, but Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Andersen made one save after another until Brazilian-born striker Liedson finally headed the ball in from inside the penalty area to equalise with four minutes to go. "Generally speaking, Portugal were the better team," Queiroz said. "We had more chances. We created chance after chance, but didn't score. "That's the main difference. Bendtner had one chance and did what we couldn't do with 50."
Denmark coach Morten Olsen said he was "both satisfied and disappointed" with the draw, which kept his team undefeated in the group and extended their lead over Hungary. "Now we need to regain power before [the qualifier away to] Albania on Wednesday. There were many good individual performances," he said. Georgia captain Kakha Kaladze has apologised for scoring two extraordinary own goals to give Italy a flattering 2-0 win in World Cup qualifying Group Eight.
The AC Milan defender, making his first competitive appearance in seven months following knee surgery, headed in Angelo Palombo's cross-come-shot on 56 minutes in Tbilisi before miskicking a clearance which also flew into the net. "My team did well and we showed our heart. I'm so sorry, it's my fault. It hurts me," he said. "I don't know what to say." Italy coach Marcello Lippi, whose team top the group by a point from Ireland, denied suggestions the two own goals meant strictly speaking his side had not now scored in four outings: "If you put the defence under pressure, it's a goal," he said.
* With agencies