Portugal beats Bosnia 6-2, makes Euro 2012 finals
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal qualified for next year's European Championship with a 6-2 demolition of 10-man Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday.
After a 0-0 draw in Zenica last week, the pressure was on the Portuguese to deliver in Lisbon in the second leg of the playoff against a Bosnian team looking to qualify for its first major international tournament.
Ronaldo put Portugal ahead in the eighth minute with a trademark dipping free-kick from 25 meters out that Asmir Begovic couldn't reach, then Nani made it 2-0 with a thundering strike from almost the same spot in the 24th.
Zvjezdan Misimovic's 40th-minute penalty kept Bosnia in the game, but Ronaldo charged through the defense and beat the goalkeeper before slotting in the ball from a tight angle for his second in the 53rd.
Senad Lulic was sent off for dissent a minute later, but teammate Emir Spahic scored against the run of play in the 66th.
Helder Postiga scored two and Miguel Veloso got another in the last 20 minutes as the Bosnian defense collapsed.
Portugal mostly outclassed its opponent, showing the spirit and flair it lacked in recent games, and the home crowd shouted ''Ole'' at the slick ball play.
''We were totally committed today,'' Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. ''We lost our way twice, both times against the run of play, and we became unsettled, but we fought our way back and we deserved this win.''
Bosnia, which finished the group stage a point shy of France and was unbeaten in its previous seven games, failed to deliver the gutsy style that brought it this far and had to wait until five minutes before the interval for its first shot at goal.
''The Portuguese were faster and all-around better than us,'' Bosnia coach Safet Susic said.
The two countries also met in the playoffs for the 2010 World Cup, when Portugal edged Bosnia 1-0 in each leg.
Portugal reached the final of Euro 2004 as the host nation and the semifinals of Euro 2000. It also finished fourth at the 2006 World Cup. But despite its top talent, it still hasn't won an international trophy.
Bosnia paired Edin Dzeko, the second leading scorer in the English Premier League, and Zvjezdan Misimovic in attack but most of the action was at the other end as the visitor struggled to make an impression.
An early chance fell to Raul Meireles who sidefooted wide after Asmir Begovic failed to hold a Nani shot in the sixth minute.
Ronaldo tested Begovic again with a free-kick in the 21st, the goalkeeper this time pushing the ball wide.
Meireles chipped over the Bosnian defense for Joao Moutinho to race into the area but the midfielder hesitated and Bosnia closed him down.
Misimovic dribbled into the Portuguese area from the right flank and forced a save from Rui Patricio in the 40th before Fabio Coentrao's handball gave Bosnia a penalty goal against the run of play.
Moutinho poked the ball through for Ronaldo's second goal as the Real Madrid striker continued to harass the Bosnian defense, which gave way as the half progressed.
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao; Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles (Ruben Micael, 64); Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida, Nani (Ricardo Quaresma, 82).
Bosnia: Asmir Begovic; Sasa Papac, Emir Spahic, Elvir Rahimic (Darko Maletic, 56), Miralem Pjanic (Muhamed Besic, 65); Zvjezdan Misimovic, Edin Dzeko, Sanel Jahic, Senad Lulic; Haris Medunjanin, Adnan Zahirovic.