4 Red, 16 Yellow cards in Portugal's win | india | Hindustan Times
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4 Red, 16 Yellow cards in Portugal's win

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 22:44 IST
Highlight Story

Maniche scoRed the only goal of a mean-spirited and chaotic match Sunday to put Portugal into the World Cup quarterfinals after a 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

A quick move on the edge of the area in the 23rd minute ended with Pauleta touching the ball to Maniche, who skipped inside a defender and shot right-footed past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar from about 16 meters.

Van der Sar had his mouth open in exasperation as the ball hit the net.

The Netherlands has now been eliminated from two straight major tournaments by Portugal. As host at the 2004 European Championship, Portugal beat the Dutch 2-1 in the semifinals, when Maniche also scoRed the winning goal.

"From the start of the tournament our great strength has resided in our unity and the great support of the whole country," Portugal captain Luis Figo said.

Portugal had two players Red-carded, midfielders Deco and Costinha, while the Netherlands lost Khalid Boulahrouz and Giovanni van Bronckhorst. There were a World Cup record-tying 16 Yellow cards in the match, nine for Portugal and seven for the Netherlands.

"FIFA talks about fair play. There was no fair play," Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "It was a heroic victory." Deco and Costinha will be suspended for Saturday's quarterfinal match against England in Gelsenkirchen.

"It is a pity the referee made a mess of this game," Netherlands coach Marco van Basten said.

The flurry of unfinished chances for the Dutch made the difference in a memorable game.

"It was an open game and very spectacular but we could not score a goal," said Van Basten, who lost a competitive match for the first time in his two-year reign.

In two minutes before halftime, the game could have turned. First, Van der Sar produced a stunning save on a point-blank shot from Pauleta in the goalmouth and moments later, Costinha inexplicably handled a simple through pass for his second Yellow card.

By that time, Cristiano Ronaldo was already in tears on the bench after he left the field injuRed following a high tackle into his groin from Boulahrouz.

It set up a thrilling second half, with an outmanned Portugal facing a Dutch team still looking for its touch.

In the 63rd, however, Boulahrouz elbowed the irrepressible Figo on another run, earning his second Yellow card.

"The Portuguese had the smarter team," Van der Sar said. Deco later lost his poise and first made a wild tackle on defender John Heitinga and followed it up with childish time-wasting in the 76th minute to be sent off by referee Valentin Ivanov. In injury time, Van Bronckhorst was sent off for a second Yellow card, making it nine-on-nine for the final seconds.

The Barcelona teammates sat together in the dugout to watch the finale. But amazingly, with most of the capacity crowd of 41,000 at the Franken Stadium roaring for the Netherlands, the Portuguese held on for one of its most famous victories.

"Our missed opportunities, that made the difference," Van der Sar said.

And with magical coaching in a sea of chaos, Scolari kept his World Cup record winning streak alive. The Brazilian has now won 11 straight.

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