Lucky Portugal take World Cup advantage to Bosnia

16 November 2009 01:40

Portugal are in pole position to turn their poor World Cup Qualifying campaign around as they take a one-goal lead into their second leg against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Portugal travel to Bosnia on Wednesday with a slender advantage and will acknowledge that they rode their luck as Zlatan Muslimovic missed the chance to put his side on level terms at the end of the first leg.

Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz said: "I think, with the image of that moment when the ball hit the post and the bar, we can recognise we were lucky." However, the former Real Madrid manager also feels that his side are in the ascendency, adding: "It was a solid, enthusiastic and intelligent performance.

"We didn't rush and we always wanted more goals. We are leading at the halfway stage against a very determined team and will go to Zenica to score more goals."

Chelsea midfielder Deco is also looking forward to the away leg and said: "In Zenica if we score a goal there, everything will be easier, but we must be very intelligent and we must hold on to the ball."

Bosnia will be without the suspended Emir Spahic, Elver Rahimic and Samir Muratovic after the trio collected yellow cards in Lisbon, whereas Portugal are only missing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko, who set up Muslimovic's gilt-edged chance, admitted that his side have a tough job to turn the tie around: "It will be a very difficult return leg because we will be short of three very important players but I hope we will have more luck than we did in the first game."

Dzeko's national coach Miroslav Blazevic remains defiant, saying: "We could have achieved more in Lisbon, but the result is good. I am certain we will be going to South Africa."

The Croatian, who managed his own country to third place at the 1998 World Cup in France, added: "We can't go through if we play like we did in the first leg, but the return match will be a completely different game of football and we will apply a new strategy to surprise Portugal."

- David Brenchley

Source: DSG