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Finland hold 10-man Portugal

6 September 2006 22:38

HELSINKI, Sep 6 (SW) - Portugal got off to a less-than-perfect start in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw away to Finland on Wednesday in Group A.

Finland - Portugal 1-1

The Finns got off to a dream start in the 22nd minute as a free kick by Joonas Kolkka found the head of Jonatan Johansson, who buried the ball beyond Ricardo for a 1-0 lead.

The lead, though, lasted but 20 minutes as striker Nuno Gomes turned home a cross by Deco to pull Luiz Felipe Scolari's men level.

It did look as if they would be up against it just after the restart when Ricardo Costa was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Johansson, but the Portuguese held on to salvage a point.

Poland - Serbia 1-1

Poland looked to be heading toward Leo Beenhakker's first win as manager, but an equalizer by Danko Lazovic denied them victory in Warsaw.

The Poles, coming off an embarrassing home loss to Finland, went in front on the half-hour mark as Radoslav Matusiak hit a wonder goal that sent the fans into loud celebrations.

However, they were pegged back in the 71st minute when Lazovic fired a shot past Wojciech Kowalewski in the Poland goal, forcing them to settle for a draw.

Armenia - Belgium 0-1

Belgium recovered from a disappoting home draw against Kazakhstan last month, but only with the slimmest of victories away to Armenia on Wednesday.

Despite immense pressure on the Armenian goal, it took the Red Devils 41 minutes to break through as Daniel Van Buyten nodded in a Jelle Van Damme cross to give René Vandereycken's side the lead.

Armenia rarely threatened in the second half, and the Belgians were happy to come out of the match in Yerevan with three points.

Azerbaijan - Kazakhstan 1-1

It may be a stretch to call Kazakhstan "road warriors", but in their debut European Championship qualifying campaign they have two draws in two away matches after earning a stalemate in Azerbaijan.

The Azeris took the lead on 16 minutes as Andre Ladaga hit a marvelous free kick past goalkeeper David Loria, but the visitors got back on level terms 20 minutes later when Dmitry Byakov nodded home Nikita Khokhlov's cross.

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