Portugal Portugal roundup: Cup in on Ronaldo qualifying target World win
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 03:00:00 +0100
Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota were on target as Portugal recovered to beat Luxembourg 3-1 while the Netherlands defeated Gibraltar 7-0
Last modified on Tue 30 Mar 2021 18.29 EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal in the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign but then missed a sitter as Portugal were forced to come from behind to beat Luxembourg 3-1 away on Tuesday.
Luxembourg went into the game full of confidence after beating the Republic of Ireland 1-0 and they took a shock lead against the European champions when Portuguese-born Gerson Rodrigues, who scored in Dublin, glanced in a header on the half-hour.
Portugal went close to levelling on two occasions before Diogo Jota headed in their equaliser in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half.
Ronaldo, who had been denied a goal in the 2-2 draw against Serbia on Saturday despite the ball clearly crossing the line, put Portugal in charge early in the second half, firing into the far bottom corner after combining with João Cancelo.
Ronaldo should have scored again when the ball landed at his feet following a terrible Luxembourg backpass but he shot straight at Anthony Moris, who saved the striker’s second attempt with his feet.
João Palhinha put Fernando Santos’s side further ahead in the 80th minute by heading home a Pedro Neto corner and Luxembourg’s Maxime Chanot was sent off for a second booking in the 87th.
The victory lifted Portugal to the top of Group A on seven points after three games, level with Serbia, who beat Azerbaijan 2-1 thanks to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s double, while Luxembourg are third with three points.
Belgium had been held 1-1 by the Czech Republic on Saturday but claimed their second Group E win in emphatic fashion – an 8-0 victory over Belarus.
Coach Roberto Martínez gave chances to several of his fringe players and was rewarded with a rampant display as Hans Vanaken and Leandro Trossard scored twice while Michy Batshuayi, Jeremy Doku, Denis Praet and Christian Benteke were also on target.
Belgium now top the group with seven points, while the Czechs – who lost to Wales on Tuesday – are second with four.
The Netherlands winger Steven Berghuis scored one goal and set up another as they overcame a wasteful first half to ultimately thump Gibraltar 7-0 in their World Cup qualifier at the Victoria Stadium.
Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Donyell Malen shared four goals between them in nine second-half minutes to give an emphatic look to the score after a stuttering opening period frustrated manager Frank de Boer.
Substitute Donny van de Beek added a sixth late on and Depay got his second as the Netherlands recorded their biggest away win since a 7-0 success over San Marino in 1993.
The Dutch moved into second place in Group G with six points from three games, one point behind leaders Turkey who were surprisingly held to a 3-3 draw at home by Latvia.
Before the match, the Dutch players again wore T-shirts designed to highlight the plight of migrant workers in Qatar, who host the next World Cup.
A late Robert Mak strike gave Slovakia a 2-1 win against Russia in Group H as the home side soaked up late pressure from the visitors to hang on for the victory.
Milan Skriniar put the hosts in front in the 38th minute when the Internazionale defender slipped his marker and headed home after connecting with a Mak corner.
Russia drew level in the 71st minute after Mário Fernandes scooped a rebound into the net.
But Mak found a winner three minutes later when he latched onto a Tomas Hubocan pass inside the penalty area before beating a pair of Russian defenders and driving the ball past the Russia goalkeeper, Anton Shunin.
Russia are level on six points with Croatia at the top of Group H while Slovakia are a point behind.
In the other group matches Croatia cruised past Malta 3-0 while Cyprus beat Slovenia 1-0.
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 03:00:00 +0100
Roberto Martinez's team were in fine form while Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Portugal in their win over Luxembourg
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Belgium hit eight in a ruthless destruction of Belarus in World Cup qualifying.
Brighton forward Leandro Trossard and Club Brugge’s Hans Vanaken scored twice apiece for Roberto Martinez’s side while there were also goals for Michy Batshuayi, Jeremy Doku, Dennis Praet and Christian Benteke.
Belgium are three points ahead of the Czech Republic at the top of Group E after the latter’s 1-0 defeat by Wales.
The final act is for @VanakenHans! ⚽⚽ #BELBLR #COMEONBELGIUM 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/9biWjuGdKZ
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) March 30, 2021
Both sides were down to 10 men, with Patrik Schick sent off for the Czechs and Connor Roberts for Wales, when Daniel James headed in Gareth Bale’s cross in the 81st minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo was on the scoresheet three days after storming off the pitch against Serbia.
The Portugal captain was furious to have been denied what would have been a winning goal on Saturday when officials failed to spot his shot had crossed the line before being cleared and headed for the tunnel before the final whistle.
Luxembourg took a shock lead on Tuesday through Gerson Rodrigues but Liverpool’s Diogo Jota pulled Portugal level just before half-time, Ronaldo put them ahead and Joao Palhinha secured a 3-1 victory.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice as Serbia defeated Azerbaijan 2-1 to stay level with Portugal at the top of Group A.
Mitrovic’s first was cancelled out by Emin Makhmudov’s penalty, but he struck again with his fifth goal in six days to secure victory.
Gibraltar were hit for seven by Holland in Group G.
It was only 1-0 at half-time, Steven Berghuis netting in the 41st minute, but the goals flew in after the break, including three in four minutes.
Memphis Depay scored twice while Luuk de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum, Donyell Malen and Donny van de Beek were also on the scoresheet.
Holland are one point behind Turkey, who were held to a 3-3 draw by Latvia.
⚡➥ & hungry for more!#GIBNED pic.twitter.com/v1kNLftkmf
— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) March 30, 2021
Turkey led through goals from Kenan Karaman and Hakan Calhanoglu before Roberts Savalnieks pulled one back.
Burak Yilmaz restored the two-goal advantage but goals from Roberts Uldrikis and Davis Ikaunieks secured a point for Latvia.
Norway sit level on points with Holland, Alexander Sorloth scoring the only goal of their 1-0 victory over Montenegro.
Things are tight at the top of Group H after victories for Slovakia and Croatia.
Slovakia were 2-1 winners over Russia.
Milan Skriniar put the hosts ahead but Mario Fernandes looked like he might have claimed a point for Russia when he equalised in the 71st minute, only for Robert Mak to grab the winner.
⏹️ Final whistle in Rijeka! #Croatia celebrates second consecutive #WCQ victory – congratulations!#BeProud #CROMAL #Vatreni🔥 pic.twitter.com/RWqZXkt9AI
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) March 30, 2021
Croatia were comfortable 3-0 winners over Malta, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric and Josip Brekalo netting in the second half.
Ioannis Pittas scored the only goal as Cyprus claimed a shock 1-0 victory over Slovenia.
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