Associated Press  |  Last updated June 07, 2013
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Helder Postiga's early goal gave Portugal a 1-0 win over Russia on Friday and kept alive Portuguese hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup after a series of poor results. The win lifted Portugal to the top of Group F with a two-point advantage over Russia, but Fabio Capello's team has two games in hand and this game was close. Center-forward Postiga scored in the ninth minute when he connected with Miguel Veloso's free-kick from close range and the ball went in off the left post. The victory was crucial for Cristiano Ronaldo's team, which can't afford to drop any more points after drawing with Israel and Northern Ireland. It has three qualifying games left and is at least hoping to get into the playoffs as a second-place team if Russia claims the automatic qualifying berth. Russia had recorded four straight wins in its qualifying campaign before the defeat in Lisbon and still looks the strongest candidate for the group's top spot. The game produced few thrills, and neith...
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