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Football | Nigeria

Graca inspires Portugal to Copa win

Portugal goalkeeper, Paulo Graca was the hero of the afternoon in the opening game of the 2012 Copa Lagos Beach Soccer Worldwide on Friday.

Graca, 34, scored twice in his team's 4-0 win over Argentina while Rui Coimbra and Jose Maria accounted for the other half.

The impressive Sporting CP keeper put Portugal one goal up inside the first minute of the game at the Eko Atlantic Beach Stadium in Lagos.

On two quick succession in the seventh minute, Argentina goalkeeper, Marcelo Salgueiro had to keep out Jose Maria's close range efforts.

But with a minute to end the first period, a terrible mix-up by Argentina's German Spinelli at the back led to Rui Coimbra tapping in the ball past Salgueiro for Portugal's second goal.

Argentina hardly threatened Portugal in the first period as the Europeans won the first period 2-0.

The second period was largely uneventful as it ended goalless - a rare occurrence in beach soccer.

But the Portuguese stepped on the accelerator in the final period with Graca getting his second with a long range effort.

With a 3-0 lead, Portugal continued to look very comfortable against their South American opponents even without two of their most influential teammates, Nuno Belchior and Madjer, who did not make the trip to Nigeria.

With three minutes to the end, Maria rifled home a thumping free kick to make it four.

And in the last seconds, one of the Hilaire brothers in the Argentina squad, Santiago, hit the post with his team's best chance, as Portugal's Selecção das Quinas showed they will compete for the Copa Lagos title.


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