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Portugal takes on defense-minded Azerbaijan in Euro 2008 qualifier

Portugal takes on defense-minded Azerbaijan in Euro 2008 qualifier

Portugal wants its first victory in the 2008 European Championship qualifiers on Saturday and Azerbaijan promised to defend.
"I'm not going to play attacking soccer against Portugal," Azerbaijan coach Shahin Diniyev said. "Not a single coach will promise you for sure to bring back a result from Portugal. I just want my players to show solid team soccer."
Azerbaijan has one point from two games in Group A _ a 1-0 loss at Serbia and 1-1 draw against visitors Kazakhstan.
Coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari, Portugal drew 1-1 at Finland in its only Group A game so far.
Portugal's central defender Fernando Meira and striker Hugo Almeida are out of Saturday's match with muscle strains.
Benfica winger Simao Sabrosa and Atletico Madrid's Maniche return for Portugal _ runner-up to Greece at Euro 2004 and fourth at the World Cup in Germany. Striker Armando Petit has recovered from flu.
Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira cautioned against overconfidence.
"We still haven't won anything," he said. "We are talking as if Azerbaijan don't count but this is not an easy match. We must perform."
Before the start of qualifying for Euro 2008, Azerbaijan had not scored a goal in 845 minutes of competitive international football.
Diniyev said its matches against Serbia and Kazakhstan were easy in comparison to playing Portugal.
"They had three or four key players to keep an eye on, but Portugal has all 11."
Finland, Serbia and Belgium top Group A with four points each.


Updated : 2021-04-11 16:20 GMT+08:00