Sub Varela hits late winner to spare Ronaldo

DENMARK 2
PORTUGAL 3

PORTUGAL boss Paulo Bento admitted his side should have been home and dry long before substitute Silvestre Varela’s late winner boosted their chances of reaching the European Championship last eight.

Porto forward Varela lashed home with three minutes remaining to spare Cristiano Ronaldo’s blushes after a Nicklas Bendtner brace had dragged Denmark back from two goals behind. The prolific Ronaldo missed two one-on-one chances to finish off the Danes at 2-1 before Varela settled the Group B thriller.

“We should have killed the game off earlier, we had enough chances,” said Bento. “Conceding an equaliser so late, we showed great strength of character to keep going for the win.”

Defender Pepe headed Portugal in front after 24 minutes and striker Postiga doubled the lead from Nani’s pass before half-time.

Arsenal’s Bendtner punished a napping defence to nod into an empty net before half-time and, following Ronaldo’s misses, powerfully headed a back-post equaliser with 10 minutes left, setting up a dramatic finale.