Portugal boss Bento hits back at diving claims

Portugal head coach Paulo Bento has lashed out in defence of his team after Sweden's Sebastian Larsson accused his side of diving.

Sweden will host Portugal in the second leg of their FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off on Tuesday with the visitors leading after a 1-0 triumph in Lisbon.

Ahead of the match in Stockholm, Larsson, one of Sweden's key midfielders, has claimed the appointment of English referee Howard Webb will ensure Portugal will not get away with 'the same tricks' as they employed in Lisbon.

But Bento has bristled at the suggestion that his team dive, throwing the accusation back at Sweden for an incident involving Norwich City striker Johan Elmander.

"I don't believe referee Howard Webb won't see a situation like Elmander in the Portuguese penalty area and a pretend foul that Elmander tried to invent in the first leg - he dived," Bento said on Monday.

The focus of the two-legged tie has been on both teams' star men - Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ronaldo made the difference on Friday, scoring an 82nd-minute header to hand Portugal victory and the lead heading into the contest in Stockholm.

But Bento has reiterated that the key is not to focus on individuals when coming up against players like Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic.

"There is no way to try to stop a single player though, we have to do it on a collective term," Bento said.

"I think Sweden will try to stop us as a team and try to block Cristiano Ronaldo.

"What we will try to do is attack well and not only count on Ronaldo.

"If there is special marking on Ronaldo that maybe gives us the chance to find opportunities for other players from other areas of the pitch."


SHARES
comments