Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein: Cristiano Ronaldo bags a brace in first match since crisis-hit World Cup – including a trademark free-kick – as Roberto Martinez’s men ease to Euro 2024 qualifying win… with Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva also on target
- Portugal thrashed Liechtenstein in their first Euro 2024 qualifier on Thursday
- Joao Cancelo opened the scoring in Roberto Martinez’s opening match
- Bernardo Silva added a second before Cristiano Ronaldo netted a double
Cristiano Ronaldo marked his record-breaking night for Portugal by netting a brace in Portugal’s 4-0 win over Liechtenstein in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier on Thursday.
Ronaldo celebrated his 197th cap, surpassing Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa, by netting a penalty and a free-kick as he returned to the starting line-up for their Group J qualifier at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
He converted a 51st-minute spot kick, his first goal against the minnows as the home side went 3-0 up and added the fourth with a trademark free kick that bent back the hands of visiting goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel.
Joao Cancelo had put Portugal into an eighth-minute lead with a long-range half volley – with Ronaldo believing he had secured the final touch – but Portugal were frustrated by solid defending from the visitors.
Seventy seconds into the second half, however, Bernardo Silva picked up a loose ball after Cancelo’s progress to goal was halted and rifled home for a 2-0 lead.
Cristiano Ronaldo starred with a brace for Portugal to help them thrash Liechtenstein 4-0
The former Manchester United star netted his first of the night from the penalty spot
He then smashed in a trademark free kick to make it a thumping night in their first qualifier
Ronaldo, who turned 38 last month, tucked in a penalty after Cancelo had been brought down before his rasping free kick in the 63rd minute extended his record for the most goals in international football to 120.
Earlier the Portugal captain, taken off in the 78th minute before he could bag a hat-trick, missed gilt-edged chances when he skied the ball in front of goal and glanced a header wide.
Ronaldo had been benched by former coach Fernando Santos for Portugal’s final two games at last year’s World Cup in Qatar where they lost in the quarter-finals to Morocco.
PORTUGAL: Rui Patricio; Inacio, Pereira (Neves 67), Dias; Canelo, Silva (Vitinha 79), Palhinha, Fernandes (Mario 90), Guerreiro; Ronaldo (Ramos 78), Felix (Leao 67)
Subs: Biai, Sa, Silva, Mendes, Dalot, Otavio, Jota
Goals: Cancelo 8, B Silva 47, Ronaldo 51 pen, 63
LIECHTENSTEIN: Buchel; S Wolfinger (Yildiz 80), Malin (Luchinger 38), Traber, Hofer, Meier (F Wolfinger 60); Frommelt, Wieser, Hasler; Gassner (Lorenz 60), Sele (Beck 80)
Subs: Ospelt, Lo Russo, Marxer, Netzer, M Wolfinger, Kardesoglu, Frick
Former Man City star Joao Cancelo netted the first goal – though Ronaldo believed he got the last touch
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