Portugal, playing with 10 men, gets a draw in first game

Finland held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in Group A of qualifying for the 2008 European Championship on Wednesday.

Jonatan Johansson opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after Jari Litmanen and Joonas Kolkka combined to cross the ball for the Finland striker to tap in from close range.

But Nuno Gomes equalized in the 42nd when Deco received the ball from 19-year-old rookie Dani and played him through to beat goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen with a low shot.

Portugal's Ricardo Costa was sent 10 minutes into the second half for a second bookable offense.

It was Portugal's first qualifier, while Finland had won 3-1 at Poland on Saturday.

"I am satisfied with a point, quite happy regarding the conditions at the moment," Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "It was important not to lose. Finland was well organized and had dangerous set pieces."

Finland forward Jari Litmanen said there was disappointment, not taking advantage of the man advantage

"In a certain way this was a disappointment because we had the chace to take three points when we had a man advantage," he said. "But four points from two tough games is a good haul. Often we have had zero points at this stage of qualifying."

Portugal, which reached the World Cup semifinals, started tentatively and Finland came close to scoring after six minutes, central defender Sami Hyypia's free header hitting the side-netting with the goal open, reports AP.

Despite playing with 10 men, Portugal kept possession and denied Finland numerous times.

Petri Pasanen's 30-meter free kick just missed, while a shot by Mika Vayrynen was saved by Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo.

Hyypia headed a free kick from Litmanen wide of the post in the 74th. Eight minutes later, Ricardo palmed a free kick from Litmanen around the post.

Midfielders Petit and Deco were best for Portugal, but Cristiano Ronaldo was well contained by Finland's defense.

Litmanen's set pieces were always dangerous, while Jaaskelainen made a few good saves before the interval for Finland.

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