(Sporting Alert) — After drawing 3-3 in an exciting comeback last week, Portugal will try to avoid such another late drama when they face Azerbaijan World Cup Europe 2014 Group F game at Tofik Bakhramov on Tuesday.
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But they will have to do so without star player and captain.
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who picked up a yellow card against Israel will miss the game because of suspension, but rather than returning to Spain to join up with the La Liga club, he opted to stay and cheer his teammates on as look to keep tabs on leaders Russia.
“The easiest thing for me would have been to return to my club, but I said that I wanted to stay,” he said. “I feel that my presence with the team is important,” he explained.
“I can still contribute something to the team even when I’m not playing. I’m a bit sad that I can’t help the guys out there on the pitch, but I will encourage the team to give their all and get a good result.”
Manchester United winger Nani continues to be out with a hamstring injury, but Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, who was a doubt, Bruno Alves, who scored the opener against Israel on Saturday and Joao Moutinho all start tonight.
Hélder Postiga will lead the attack with Ronaldo out.
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Azerbaijan v Portugal
Azerbaijan v Portugal
Azerbaijan: Kamran Agayev, Medvedev, Sadygov, Abishov, Ramaldanov, Shukurov, Elvin Mammadov, Ismailov, Javid Huseynov, Nadirov, Aliyev
Subs: Nazirov, Guseynov, Abdullayev, Sadyqov, Qirtimov, Fardjad-Azad, Ozkara, Garayev, Amirquliev, Dadasov, Levin, Agil Mammadov
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao, Joao Moutinho, Meireles, Veloso, Danny, Vieirinha, Postiga.
Subs: Eduardo, Custodio, Almeida, Paulo Machado, Sereno, Nuno Andre, Silvio, Varela, Pizzi, Carlos Martins, Beto.
Referee: Andre Marriner (England)
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