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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Last-Minute Goal Puts Portugal Into Next Round




ARNHEM, Netherlands -- Substitute Costinhha scored in the fourth minute of injury time to grab a 1-0 win over Romania on Saturday and send Portugal into the quarterfinals of Euro 2000.


The seconds were ticking down at the end of a poor game when Costinha headed a long free kick from Luis Figo past Romanian goalkeeper Bogdan Stelea to spark off joyous celebrations among thousands of Portugal fans behind the goal.


It was the first international goal for midfielder Costinha, who had been on the pitch for only six minutes, and the Portuguese players and fans feted the win with a passion sadly lacking from the match itself.


"I think scoring in the last minute of a tactical game was phenomenal f so now we can look ahead," said Portuguese coach Humberto Coelho.


Romania must now beat England in their final Group A fixture to have any chance of avoiding early elimination, and they will be without veteran captain Gheorghe Hagi after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament.


Hagi will retire from international soccer after Euro 2000 and could have played his last match for his country.


Portugal, which beat England 3-2 in a its first match, has a maximum six points. Romania has just one point after a 1-1 draw with defending champion Germany in its first game.


"It was a tactical game which required a lot of patience, but I think there was justice in the end," Coelho said.


"They managed to open a lot of space but we managed to close them down and a win was always going to be possible for us."


The late drama was in complete contrast to what had gone before. Both teams played a patient, passing game and canceled each other out in a match largely played out in midfield.


Romania had just one shot on target, a late effort from Hagi that goalkeeper Vitor Baia did well to tip over.


Portugal was only marginally better, managing just three efforts on target.


Figo and Rui Costa, outstanding against England, never really got into their stride in a game played at a low tempo, and Rui Costa was taken off near the end for Costinha.


The first half was dominated by French referee Gilles Veissiere, who cautioned Romanians Hagi, Dan Petrescu and Cosmin Contra as well as Portugal's Figo.


Portugal changed its attack early in the second half, withdrawing Nuno Gomes and Joao Pinto. They were replaced by Sa Pinto and Sergio Conceicao in an attempt to break the deadlock.


Hagi went close with a late long-range shot saved by Baia before Costinha stole the show.