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Santos hails Quaresma impact as Portugal survive Latvia scare

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Nov 2016

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Portugal boss Fernando Santos praised the impact of substitute Ricardo Quaresma as his side overcame a stubborn Latvia 4-1 in World Cup qualifying.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half penalty put the European champions ahead in Sunday’s clash in the Algarve, but Arturs Zjuzins equalised 23 minutes from time after Ronaldo had sent a second spot-kick onto the post.

Quaresma’s introduction off the bench proved decisive, however, as he crossed for William Carvalho to head Portugal back ahead before he teed up Ronaldo for a brilliant third six minutes from the end.

Bruno Alves’ injury-time header made the scoreline a little flattering for the hosts and Santos admitted that they had been too complacent in their approach prior to Quaresma’s impact.

“We complicated things in the first half because we lacked intensity,” he said, as quoted by A Bola. “In terms of possession of the ball, we were good, but we lacked acceleration in our play.

“At the break, I spoke with the players and we started better, we created chances, played a little faster, but then we conceded a goal. However, the team reacted really well and got a goal themselves.

“Quaresma’s entrance worked really well, because when we think that these games are easy, we make them difficult for ourselves.

“Fortunately, William’s goal came quickly enough and then later we could have got more. If only we’d had the same intensity throughout the game.”

Carvalho, who scored his first international goal on his 29th appearance, felt that giving Portugal the lead again only two minutes after Latvia had drawn level was crucial.

“We reached our objective. We knew we were going to face a difficult defence, but we had a great second half,” he said.

“My goal came at the right time because we were evenly matched at that point, but the important thing was to contribute to a Portugal victory. I’m proud to be part of this group.”

Alves was simply pleased to have emerged victorious after his side laboured for long periods against a team who had suffered back-to-back defeats against Hungary and the Faroe Islands.

“Latvia sat back a lot and it was difficult to get through, but the important thing was the victory,” the centre-back told RTP.

“We suffered a little, but we’re satisfied with the three points.”

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