Portugal were made to pay for defensive indiscipline as Gabon earned a surprise 2-2 draw on Wednesday, while Serbia accounted for Chile.
A penalty in each half – the first after a clumsy challenge from Silvio, the second following Custodio’s handball – gave the hosts a share of the spoils after Pizzi and Hugo Almeida had seemingly put Portugal in control of the match.
Portugal were struggling to find a rhythm during the opening half on the difficult playing surface, and found themselves behind after 33 minutes when Levy Madinda tucked home a confident penalty after Silvio’s foul inside the box.
The lead lasted barely a minute, however, as Pizzi buried a spot-kick of his own after Eder was tugged to the floor when turning his man with some clever chest control.
Portugal had upped the tempo after the break and took the lead shortly before the hour mark. Silvestre Varela played a superb one-two with Nelson to slice through the Gabon defence, and his scuffed shot across goal was turned home by substitute Hugo Almeida, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Yves Stephane Bitseki.
Just as Portugal seemed to be taking control, Gabon were – quite literally – handed an equaliser, when Custodio was penalised for blocking a shot with his hand, allowing Madinda to tuck home his second penalty of the night.
Goals from Lazar Markovic, Filip Djordjevic and Filip Djuricic inspired Serbia to a 3-1 victory over 10-man Chile.
Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal saw red with the hosts three goals down – his second dismissal in as many international games.
The defeat also spelled the end of Claudio Borghi’s tenure in charge of the national team, with the coach revealing he was fired after five successive losses.
“They’ve asked me to step aside, I’m no longer the coach of the Chilean national team,” Borghi said.
“The evaluation is not good, I had a meeting with the directors and they asked me to step aside.”
Russia and the United States were unable to be separated as they played out a 2-2 draw in Krasnodar.
Fabio Capello’s men hit the front courtesy of a Fedor Smolov goal in just the ninth minute but Michael Bradley levelled the match with 14 minutes remaining.
Roman Shirokov restored the hosts’ advantage with a 84th minute penalty before Mikkel Diskerud salvaged a draw deep into injury time.
In other results on Wednesday, defender Robert Cornthwaite netted a late winner as Australia overcame South Korea, Saudi Arabia held South American powerhouse Argentina to a goalless draw and manager-less Scotland edged Luxembourg 2-1.
Romania claimed a 2-1 victory over Belgium thanks to goals from Alexandru Maxim and Gabriel Torje, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez both found the back of the net as Uruguay cruised past Poland 3-1, while Turkey and Denmark played out a 1-1 draw.
David Lafata bagged a brace in the opening six minutes as the Czech Republic defeated Slovakia 3-0, Greece clinched a 1-0 win in Ireland thanks to a first-half strike from Jose Holebas and Austria fell to a 3-0 loss against Ivory Coast.
Defender Jonathan Caruana lifted Malta to a 1-0 victory against visiting Liechtenstein, Ukraine prevailed 1-0 in Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina edged hosts Algeria 1-0 and Finland powered past Cyprus 3-0.
Meanwhile, Switzerland emerged 3-0 victors in Tunisia, Norway recorded a 2-0 triumph in Hungary, Belarus shocked Israel 2-1, Armenia trounced Lithuania 4-2, Andorra suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Iceland and New Zealand played out a 1-1 draw with China.
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