Portugal head to play-offs again despite win

Coimbra: Portugal will have to qualify through the play-offs for the third successive time for a major finals despite a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg in their final 2014 World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday.

The win in Coimbra left Portugal in second spot in Group F behind tabletoppers Russia, who got the point they needed with a 1-1 draw away in Azerbaijan.

As was the case for the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Euro, Portugal paid the price of not being able to put away lesser opposition.

In the absence of suspended captain Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal dominated possession and created a hatful of opportunities.

But the minnows held out until the red carding of Joachim in the 28th minute.

Silvestre Varela scored a minute later, followed shortly after by Nani.

Helder Postiga fired in the third with 12 minutes to play, Joao Moutinho providing the decisive pass in each of the three goals.