TIRANA, June 6 (Reuters) - Portugal needed an injury-time goal from defender Bruno Alves to beat Albania 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday and keep alive their hopes of reaching next year’s tournament in South Africa.
Portugal are third in Group One with nine points, behind leaders Denmark on 16 and Hungary with 13 and their last-gasp win in Albania must be followed by victories in their three remaining matches for them to top the standings.
The group winners qualify for the finals while the best eight runners-up from the nine groups go through to a playoff.
Portugal had taken the lead with a Hugo Almeida header in the 27th minute after Jose Bosingwa surged forward to supply the cross. Albania equalised just two minutes later when striker Bogdani beat Bruno Alves in the air to head in Skela’s cross.
Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz replaced ineffective midfielder Luis Boa Morte with Simao Sabrosa at halftime and Portugal created more chances in the second half.
But poor finishing meant they had to wait until the 93rd minute for Bruno Alves to grab the priceless winner.
Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas in Lisbon; Editing by Ken Ferris