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Portugal grab last-gasp lifeline in 2-2 draw with USA

MANAUS: Portugal snatched a dramatic equaliser deep into injury time to force a 2-2 draw with the USA and keep their World Cup hopes flickering on Sunday. Silvestre Varela headed in a cross from Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus to grab a vital point. The last-gasp leveller deprived the USA of a famous win which would have seen them complete a remarkable qualification from Group G, which also includes Germany and Ghana. It also saved Ronaldo and Portugal from an embarrassing first round elimination from a group they were firmly expected to qualify from. The result leaves the USA and Germany level on four points in Group G, with Portugal and Ghana on one apiece.A draw between the Germans and Americans in the final round of matches on Thursday would see both teams advance. US coach Jurgen Klinsmann hailed his team’s heroic display. “Obviously the last second is unfortunate but my guys were magnificent,” he said. “We just have to get a result against Germany. “My guys went to the limit but now they have to pick themselves up and despite this result we will go into the game with a lot of confidence.” Portugal winger Nani had shot the Europeans into the lead on five minutes but Klinsmann’s side rallied thereafter and dominated for long periods. They got their reward when Jermaine Jones equalised on 64 minutes with a rasping shot. Then nine minutes from time Dempsey chested in a cross to put the USA 2-1 up. It seemed as if that would be enough for victory but Portugal poured forward with one last desperate attack to score.In other games Sunday, Algeria trounced South Korea 4-2 to notch a long-awaited first World Cup win in 32 years in the day’s other game. But the defeat leaves Fabio Capello’s Russia facing a tense battle to qualify, with only one point from two games. “Of course I still believe. We have no other option than to go out and beat Algeria,” Capello told reporters. Algeria thrust themselves into pole position to qualify along with Belgium after thumping a woeful South Korea in Porto Alegre in Group H’s other game. It was Algeria’s first win at a World Cup since the 1982 finals in Spain. Islam Slimani, Rafik Halliche and Abdelmoumene Djabou effectively settled the contest before half-time as Algeria raced into a 3-0 lead. Son Heung-Min gave Korea a flicker of hope five minutes after half-time, but Yacine Brahimi made it 4-1 on 62 minutes. Koo Ja-Cheol added a consolation goal for Korea, who must now beat Belgium in their final match on Thursday to have any chance of making the last 16. 

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Aaj Kal