Portugal saved by Alves and woodwork

LISBON, Nov 14, 2009 (AFP) - Portugal, playing without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, were clinging to their World Cup dreams on Saturday after only managing a 1-0 win over Bosnia Herzegovina in their play-off first leg.

It could have been a black night for the star-studded Portuguese side who were saved by the woodwork on three occasions, including twice in the last minute.

Porto defender Bruno Alves, who gave Portugal a fortunate winner in a qualifying round win over Albania, was on target again on Saturday with a powerful backpost header after 31 minutes for the game's only goal.

Portugal´s Bruno Alves celebrates after scoring his goal against Bosnia during their play offs football match for the WC2010 at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, on November 14, 2009. Portugal won the match 1-0. AFP PHOTO

It was reward for Portugal's attacking pressure, but Bosnia, bidding to reach a first World Cup finals, were unlucky not to be level before the break.

With Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo hopelessly out of position at a corner, Senijad Ibricic crashed a header against the crossbar.

Portugal, the 2006 semi-finalists, should have been 2-0 ahead on the hour mark when Chelsea playmaker Deco jinked away from his markers before crossing to Liedson who sliced his shot just wide. Moments later Deco saw a goal-bound drive deflected away by a defender.

Bosnia still looked for an equaliser and were again denied by the woodwork in the last minute.

Edin Dzeko's far-post header came off the crossbar while Zlatan Muslimovic's quick reaction volley came off the post.

Source: AFP

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