Ronaldo converted two penalties inside the opening 13 minutes and then rounded off the scoring with a late header, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Palhinha added the other goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick as Portugal beat Luxembourg 4-0 in the World Cup qualifiers at Estadio Algarve on Tuesday. The Portuguese superstar converted two penalties inside the opening 13 minutes and then rounded off the scoring with a late header. Bruno Fernandes and Joao Palhinha added the other goals. Elsewhere at Wembley England were held to a 1-1 draw by Hungary. English defender John Stones canceled out Roland Sallai’s opener. The fixture was marred by Hungarian supporters clashing with English police in the early stages of first half.
Within five minutes of kick-off in Algarve, Bernardo Silva was brought down inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Ronaldo stepped up and converted the spot kick to open the scoring.
Few minutes later, Dirk Carlson lost the ball in the middle of the park and that allowed the hosts to breakaway. Ronaldo dribbled forward and was brought down inside the area by Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris, the referee awarded a penalty to Portugal. Ronaldo placed the ball to the bottom left corner of Moris to double the lead. In the 17th minute, Fernandes superbly drove a low shot into the bottom-right corner to make the score 3-0.
Meanwhile after the break, the visitors had a rare go at the Portuguese goal as Danel Sinani’s shot was comfortably saved by Portugal custodian Rui Patricio. In the 67th minute, Ronaldo’s acrobatic overhead kick was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Carlson before Palhinha headed in from a corner.
Three minutes from time, Ronaldo completed his 58th career hat-trick as he headed home from Ruben Neves’ perfect in-swinging cross. The win helped Portugal to 16 points from 6 games, they are now one point adrift Group A leaders Serbia, whom they will host in their final game.
England dominated the early proceedings as Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw combined to send in a teasing low cross that troubled the Hungarian defence. But against the run of play, Hungary took the lead in the 24th minute. Shaw’s foot was raised too high while clearing the ball and caught Loic Nego and the referee pointed to the spot. Sallai stepped up and converted the spot kick to silence the home crowd.
However the hosts equalized within 12 minutes of the goal. Phil Foden’s in-swinging free-kick from the right side was tucked in by Stones at the far post.
On the stroke of half time, Sterling had his close range header denied by Hungary goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi.
The second half was a cagey affair as very few chances were created. Stones’ header from Foden’s corner went narrowly wide, Gulacsi was quick to come out of goal to deny Sterling.
England still holds the top spot in Group I with 20 points from 8 games while Hungary are fourth with 11 points.
“Right across the board we weren’t sharp with our play and we were overrunning things, it was the first time in a long time but we have to hold our hands up to it,” confessed England head coach Gareth Southgate. “I don’t think we should look at individuals because collectively we didn’t perform at the level we should have.”