Veloso sinks Albania as Portugal close on finals
Albania 0-1 Portugal
The visitors took a big step towards the finals as Miguel Veloso’s added-time header proved the difference in Elbasan.
Portugal left it late but snatched a stoppage-time win in Albania to establish a three-point lead at the top of qualifying Group I and close on the UEFA EURO 2016 finals.
The visitors looked set to lose their perfect record in Albania as they entered added time in Elbasan with Nani’s effort against the woodwork the closest they had come. However, midfielder Miguel Veloso thumped in an unstoppable header in the 92nd minute to ensure Fernando Santos’s men gained revenge for their matchday one shock in Aveiro.
Having won their last five away qualifiers, Portugal made the early running, with almost everything passing through Cristiano Ronaldo. He brought a first save of the night from Etrit Berisha 12 minutes in, a wicked low shot from range forcing the keeper to turn the ball past the post.
Another attempt from similar distance zipped just the wrong side of the upright before the No7 nodded wide a Nani cross. It was the Fenerbahçe man who had the best chance of the opening period, striking the post at full stretch at the back post from Danny’s corner.
Albania had failed to trouble the visiting defence before the interval yet showed more attacking intent after the restart, Sokol Çikalleshi whistling a shot centimetres over. At the other end Danny should have done better than head wide when picked out at the far post, while Eliseu squandered a great opportunity when sent free, chipping wide over the outrushing keeper.
Veloso finally saved the day as he met Ricardo Quaresma’s corner with a brutal header to snatch the points.