Portugal breezed into the quarter finals of the men’s event at the Olympics despite playing a 1-1 draw with Algeria.
The entertaining game was played at Belo Horizonte with the Portuguese finishing the group games as leaders. Goncalo Paciencia scored his third in three games, with the third from the penalty spot. Portugal were set to leave the Algerians pointless after three group matches until Mohammed Benkablia intervened with his fine solo effort.
The opener went in halfway in the first half of the encounter. After Algeria, runner up in the African championship, were sure to go home, anyone would have thought the Portuguese would have had little hindrance but the game turned out to be very entertaining. Carlos Mane made a penetrative run into the Algerian box, forcing an rough tackle from Oussama Methazem as he sprinted from his line to stop the run. The referee called it a foul and pointed to the spot. Portugal star player and goal scorer Paciencia took up the mantle of converting the opportunity. The player wearing the No 17 shirt stepped up to the occasion as he sent the ball past the goal keeper, replaced by Farid Chaal in the starting eleven.
Benkablia also took his opportunity to shine as he dribbled past several Portuguese players, before sending a right-footed effort beyond the reach of Bruno Varela, the Portuguese shot stopper. The goal sent the Algerian supporters wild. One of the best players for Algeria at the Olympics so far, Baghdad Bounedjah created chances for himself after the goal but he couldn’t get a winner. He got a free kick from distance but it couldn’t reach its target.
After the break, Portugal relaxed as they were happy with their efforts which had guaranteed them a spot at the top of Group D. They will face Germany in the quarter finals.