Portugal struck early and held on for a 1-0 win over Hungary to breathe life into their bid for a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Pepe gave Portugal the lead, towering above the Hungarian
defence to head in from Deco's free kick in the 10th minute.
Hungary almost equalised moments later, but Roland Juhasz's
header went wide.
Victory for Portugal took them up to third place in Group
One with 13 points from eight matches, and two still to play.
Denmark top the group with 18 points after being held to a
1-1 draw by Albania, while Sweden moved up to second on 15
points after their 1-0 win over Malta. Hungary, like Portugal,
have 13 points.
"We showed we are better then our opponents," said
goalscorer Pepe. "This result re-launches our campaign for the
The group winners qualify directly, while eight of the nine
second-placed teams will go into two-legged play-offs for the
four remaining places.
The Hungarians created danger through two Balazs Dzsudszak
free kicks in the middle of the first half, with a low drive in
the 23rd minute deflected to a corner and a powerful shot two
minutes later flying inches from Eduardo's right post.
Portugal came close to doubling their lead in the 30th
minute when Meireles' through-ball put Cristiano Ronaldo clear,
but the winger's curling shot was blocked by Gabor Babos.
The Hungarians' best chance came from a Laszlo Bodnar free
kick which forced Eduardo to a tight save in the 78th minute.
"There are still four teams in the race and now the team
that has the most fire-power, personality and unity will win
this final sprint," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said.