Portugal got their 2022 World Cup Qualifiers campaign off to the perfect start with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Azerbaijan at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Fernando Santos fielded a strong starting lineup with the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo upfront, but the reigning European champions only won by a solitary goal against the 108th ranked nation in the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the focal point of the attack, with the Juventus hitman joined by Pedro Neto and Andre Silva upfront. The Portuguese great did not get on the scoresheet despite his best efforts, but Santos and co will be happy with the result after a spirited showing in Italy.
Ruben Neves was initially credited with the solitary goal of the game, as his cross from outside the area landed up in the back of the net after goalkeeper Shakhruddin Magomedaliyev punched the ball onto his own defender. However, it eventually went down as Maksim Medvedev's own goal.
The away side fell behind in strange circumstances, but Portugal were rewarded for their persistence, as they went into the interval with a deserved lead.
The home side piled on the pressure in the second half and made a handful of substitutions to add to their first-half goal, but they lacked a bit of composure in the final third.
Cristiano Ronaldo fails to add to his tally of 102 international goals
Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in a few bright moments, but it wasn't his finest night despite his best efforts. Juventus announced earlier this week that the Portuguese star would remain in Turin next season and the attacker came into the international break on the back of a disappointing string of results for the Bianconeri.
Victory in the first World Cup qualifier is sure to do a great deal of good for his confidence, as he looks set to play a pivotal role for his side in the coming week.
On that note, here are the best tweets from an uneventful game at the Allianz Stadium.