Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 128th international goal as Portugal stayed perfect in UEFA Euro 2024 qualification with a 2-0 victory in Liechtenstein.
Portugal were frustrated in the first half and struggled to find the back of the net, with Liechtenstein goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel kept busy.
Ronaldo struck the post within seconds of the restart before finally getting the better of Buchel a minute later, stroking the ball home with his left foot.
Joao Cancelo added a second with a brilliantly curled strike 10 minutes later.
Portugal, who had already booked their place for next year’s European Championships in Germany, have won all nine qualification games.
Roberto Martinez’s side took a controlled approach to the match and had plenty of chances to go ahead in the opening 45 minutes, but weren’t clinical enough.
Ronaldo had a few chances but neither troubled Buchel, with Goncalo Ramos’ close-range header their biggest chance to take the lead.
Portugal were a different animal straight from the off in the second half, with Ronaldo leading the attack.
After he struck the woodwork within 16 seconds of the restart, it only took him another minute to find the opener.
He ran onto Diogo Jota’s perfectly weighted pass through the line of defence and shifted the ball from his right to his left boot before striking into the roof of the net.
Cancelo quickly added a second when he received the ball out wide, and for some wild reason Buchel came off his line to try to win it first, but Cancelo took a superb touch to take it away from the goalkeeper before curling it into an empty net.
Ramos thought he was finally on the scoresheet after a frustrating performance, but his poked effort from close range was ruled out for offside after a VAR check.
Portugal will wrap up their blistering qualification campaign with a home match against Iceland on Sunday.
Talking point – Portugal’s rampant run continues
Portugal have the best record of anyone in qualifying having won all nine of their matches, with only France still with a perfect record intact but only after six games. Roberto Martinez’s side were drawn a favourable group, granted, but have faced a couple of tricky ties and have beaten everyone in front of them, which is all you can ask.
They’ve been prolific in front of goal having now scored 34 goals, conceding only twice, with main man Cristiano Ronaldo still as potent as ever. He’s now scored 10 goals in eight qualifying games.
Player of the match – Joao Cancelo (Portugal)
The Barcelona defender dominated the right flank and had his opposite number on strings for large parts of the match. From full-back, Cancelo created the most chances in the match (5), completed the most dribbles (8) and won the most duals (14).
Coincidently, the opening goal didn’t come from his flank but he did put the icing on the cake with a fantastic finish to put the game out of reach. A complete performance.
Liechtenstein: Buchel 7, Malin 6, Wieser 6, Traber 6, Beck 6, Luchinger 6, Buchel 6, Sele 7, Goppel 6, Hasler 6, Salanovic 5. Subs: Marxer N/A, Hofer 6, Meier 6, Kranz N/A, Ospelt 6
Portugal: Sa 7, Gomes 8, Silva 8, Cancelo 9, Neves 8, Fernandes 7, Jota 8, Silva 7, Felix 7, Ronaldo 8, Ramos 6. Subs: Mario N/A, Neves N/A, Vitinha 7, Horta 6, Bruma 6
27’ – Now Gomes has missed a golden opportunity!In a really well-worked Portugal move, Silva slips the ball to Cancelo down the right and he dinks in a lovely cross for Gomes arriving at the front post. The striker gets a good connection on the ball but blasts it wide from about three yards out! That’s the best chance of the game so far.
45’+3 – Ronaldo shoots straight at Buchel!The Liechtenstein goalkeeper is racking up the saves against the five-time Ballon d’Or winner! Again, Ronaldo shoots low and hard and again, he’s denied by Buchel.
46’ – Ronaldo hits the post within seconds! With barely 16 seconds on the clock, Ronaldo volleys an effort onto the post!
47’ – Goal! Liechtenstein 0-1 Portugal (Ronaldo): Portugal finally have their goal and who else to score it but Cristiano Ronaldo?! He runs through on goal from the left, touches the ball onto his left foot and fires beyond Buchel for his 10th goal in eight qualifying games. What a start to the second half from Ronaldo and Portugal!
57’ – Goal! Liechtenstein 0-1 Portugal (Cancelo): Portugal have their second! Cancelo receives the ball out wide and for some wild reason Buchel has come off his line to try to win it first, but Cancelo takes a superb touch to take it away from the goalkeeper before curling it into an empty net. That should be job done for Martinez’s side.
61’ – Huge Liechtenstein chance! Marcel Buchel runs through on goal and tries to chip Sa but the Wolves keeper comes rushing off his line to close the gap and deny him.
70’ – The ball is in the net… But the flag is raised! Felix is angry and rightly so. Cancelo knocks in a wonderful cross towards Felix at the back post who produces a delicate finish on the volley, but Jota – in an offside position – needlessly touches the ball on its way through and the goal is ruled out.
- Ronaldo has scored 128 goals in 204 matches for Portugal, including 10 goals in eight Euro 2024 qualifying games.
- Only Portugal (9) and France (6) have won all their matches in Euro 2024 qualifying.
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