Portugal returned to winning ways in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers after recording a 3-1 win against Luxembourg on Tuesday. The Selecao were not at their best but still managed to see the game through.
Luxembourg shockingly opened the scoring midway through the first half. The minnows had been knocking on Portugal’s doors in the first 45 minutes and were finally rewarded when Gerson Rodrigues slotted home with a cool finish. However, Fernando Santos’ side responded well to equalise before the half-time break.
Diogo Jota scored in extra time to level the scoreline. It was the Liverpool star’s third goal in his last two matches for Portugal. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Palhinha in the second half sealed the result.
Portugal get the job done despite slow start
Following a disappointing draw against Serbia, during which Portugal allowed a two-goal lead to slip away, the Selecao made another dire start to the game against Luxembourg.
The Portuguese were sloppy in possession, lost the second balls and were often reactive instead of proactive. Luxembourg took advantage of this and created their fair share of chances in the first half.
However, Portugal began to dominate possession in the second half and were clinical in the final third, eventually sealing a 3-1 win.
"Technical quality alone doesn't win here, if we don't balance these important factors," Santos said in the aftermath of the game, as quoted by beIN Sports.
"It's not that the players don't want to. We had difficulties. But then there was an instant reaction, we scored in an important moment. The second half was [better]. The goals appeared and we could have scored more. We had opportunities," Santos added.
Portugal made a disastrous start to the game against Luxembourg but have to be given credit for still managing to get the job done.
Ronaldo continues to break records on international stage
The latest international break hasn’t been generous to Cristiano Ronaldo at all. The Juventus star fired blanks in Portugal’s opening World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan and was denied a legitimate goal against Serbia last week.
The latter was particularly painful, considering that it could have been the match-winner. However, the 35-year-old was back among the goals when the Selecao faced Luxembourg.
By scoring his latest goal, Ronaldo continues to inch closer to Ali Daei’s record of 109 goals for the Portugal national team. Ronaldo is currently just six goals shy of breaking that record, having netted 103 times for Portugal.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has now also scored an international goal in each year since 2004. Ronaldo’s records are not surprising and, at this rate, he will definitely score more before he officially retires after the 2022 World Cup.