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2016 European Championship, Group Stage 2016
  • Nani (31')
  • Birkir Bjarnason (50')

Portugal denied by minnows Iceland in Euro 2016 opener

Iceland battled back to frustrate Portugal as they drew 1-1 in their Euro 2016 Group F opener in Saint-Etienne.

Portugal took the lead through Nani on 31 minutes, but had to settle for a point after Birkir Bjarnason's neat equaliser in the second half.

Iceland -- appearing in their first major international tournament -- had the chance for an early breakthrough when Gylfi Sigurdsson had a sight of goal but could not beat keeper Rui Patricio.

Portugal started to seize control as the half wore on, though, and Vierinha gave Hannes Thor Halldorsson some problems with a shot from distance on 18 minutes.

Shortly afterwards, they should have had the lead when Cristiano Ronaldo crossed for his former Manchester United teammate Nani, but the Fenerbahce winger's header was saved at point-blank range.

Ronaldo, who equalled Luis Figo's total of 127 caps, then missed a headed chance before just failing to make contact with a Pepe cross.

They did not have to wait much longer for the breakthrough. With just over half an hour played, Andre Gomes was able to get down the right after some stylish build-up play before delivering a low cross for Nani, who converted from close range.

That gave Portugal a deserved 1-0 lead at the break, and the pattern looked set to continue after the restart -- but Iceland drew level on 50 minutes.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson sent in a cross from the right that found its way to Bjarnason, who coolly swept the ball past Patricio.

Portugal looked to reassert their dominance but were struggling to make things happen, as when Ronaldo produced a neat flick to spark a move on 56 minutes but was ultimately crowded out as he tried to engineer space for a shot.

Nani came close to adding a second on 71 minutes when he headed just wide of goal from Raphael Guerreiro's free kick. Ronaldo also fired just over as Portugal broke away on the counter, with Iceland continuing to pursue an ill-advised handball appeal at the other end.

On 85 minutes, as Portugal were increasing the pressure, Ronaldo was presented with a cross at the back post by Nani -- but the Real Madrid forward's header was gathered by Halldorsson at the second attempt.

Paticio pushed a shot from Finbogasson up into the air and away, but Iceland were increasingly forced to cling on as the match drew to a conclusion.

But they survived two Ronaldo free kicks in succession, deep into injury time, to come away with a valuable point.

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