PA Sport Staff
Jessica Silva’s equaliser ensured the battle of the Group C underdogs ended all square as Portugal fought back from from 2-0 down against Switzerland to take a point.
Trailing to goals from Coumba Sow and Rahel Kiwic inside the opening five minutes at Leigh Sports Village, Francisco Neto’s side, only at the finals as a result of Russia’s expulsion, hit back through Diana Gomes and Silva to claim a 2-2 draw.
They might have taken all three points had substitute Telma Encarnacao not been thwarted by a post at the death.
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With defending champions Netherlands and Sweden to come, that may not be enough to progress with both teams knowing before kick-off the game was essentially a must-win affair.
Switzerland, who had skipper Lia Walti winning her 100th cap, got off to a dream start when, with barely a minute gone, Sow latched on to a loose ball 25 yards out and smashed a shot across the scrambling keeper Ines Pereira and inside the far post.
Pereira was picking the ball out of her net for a second time with less than five minutes gone after defender Kiwic had timed her run perfectly to meet Ramona Bachmann’s free-kick and head home.
The shell-shocked Portuguese gradually worked their way into the game with striker Silva prominent, but they rarely looked like reducing the deficit as the Swiss defence – marshalled by Bachmann and Viola Calligaris – held firm with little real difficulty.
Silva fired over seven minutes following the restart after turning smartly on the edge of the box, but her side’s plight might have worsened seconds later when Bachmann found space on the left but fired across the face of goal with Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic begging in vain for a pull-back.
However, Portugal were back in it with 58 minutes gone when, after Swiss keeper Gaelle Thalmann had made a fine save to keep out Gomes’ firm header from Ana Borges’ corner, the central defender bundled the rebound over the line.
They were level within eight minutes when Silva got ahead of Calligaris to apply a sublime finish to Tatiana Pinto’s cross.
Dolores Silva saw a 70th-minute free-kick beaten away by Thalmann and Diana Silva passed up two good opportunities before Switzerland’s Geraldine Reuteler and Sow were denied a winner by the woodwork and full-back Catarina Amado respectively.
But Encarnacao was equally unfortunate not to snatch victory with two minutes remaining when her shot came back off the post.