Euro 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo inspires Portugal to 3-0 win over Hungary

Ronaldo scores a brace and becomes the all-time leading goal scorer in the European Championship history as Portugal score three late goals on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo in a file photo; Credit: Twitter@EURO2020
By Karthik Raman | Jun 15, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Portugal began their title defence in spectacular fashion on Tuesday, thanks to captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s double against Hungary. On a record-breaking night, Ronaldo scored first from a penalty before finishing another well-worked team goal after Raphael Guerreiro opened the scoring from a deflected shot with just six minutes left on the clock. The Portugal skipper, who became the first player to feature in five European Championships, is now the all-time leading scorer in the competition. With the brace, the Juventus striker now has 11 goals, leapfrogging Michel Platini’s tally of nine strikes for France. Besides, Ronaldo is only three goals shy of former Iran striker Ali Daei’s tally of 109 international goals.

Placed in a “Group of Death” with World Cup winners France and traditional giants Germany, Tuesday’s match was the easiest for Portugal – at least on paper. But it did not turn out to be a straightforward affair as the defending champions had to dig deep to score three late goals against Hungary on Tuesday. The incredible start to the tournament will put Portugal in a commanding position to qualify from the group. Germany and France play each other later in the day, meaning one or both of the teams might drop points, leaving Fernando Santos’ side in a comfortable position to book a knockout berth.

Portugal began as the more dominant of the two. With majority of the possession on their side, the defending champions were dictating the tempo from the start. In front of a packed Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary maintained their shape and held a compact defensive line, preventing their much-fancied opponents from creating many chances.

Late drama

When they did create any openings, Ronaldo, Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva failed to convert them before the break. The skipper possibly had the best chance of the opening period after hitting a close-range shot over the crossbar towards the end of the half. Both teams went into the dressing room as the way they started – nothing to separate them.

With much more difficult opponents awaiting them in their next two matches, Fernando Santos knew that this was the best match to get things started. Chasing the opening goal, Portugal started to apply more pressure at the start of the second half.

However, Hungary, who were quiet for most of the first half, started to play with a bit more ambition in the second half. Buoyed by the home support, Hungary began to take the game to Portugal at every available opportunity. Against the run of play, Szabolcs Schon cut inside from the right and found the back of the net to the delight of the home crowd. But their celebration was short-lived as the goal was ruled out due to offside.

Portugal took full advantage of their second chance, with Raphael Guerreiro scoring six minutes from time through a heavily deflected strike. It was a deserved lead for the defending champions, but a cruel one for the home side to concede so late in the game. Regardless, it laid the groundwork for Ronaldo to steal the show.

Three minutes from time, Ronaldo overtook Platini’s long-standing record goals tally of nine with a well-taken penalty before stepping away from the keeper in stoppage-time to score his eleventh goal in the tournament’s history. It rounded off a perfect evening for Santos’ side.

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