On Tuesday, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Portugal defeated Luxembourg 5-0 in the World Cup qualification.
Ronaldo took just eight minutes to open the score at the Estadio Algarve, finishing from the penalty spot before quickly doubling his tally in the same manner.
Bruno Fernandes scored his third goal in a dominating first 20 minutes before assisting Joao Palhinha for the fourth in the second half.
Ronaldo then completed his hat-trick with three minutes remaining to seal the hosts’ dominating performance and keep them a point behind Group A leaders Serbia – who have played one more game – heading into the next international break.
The early penalties were given by Sebastien Thill and Anthony Moris, who fouled Bernardo Silva and Ronaldo, with the latter calmly converting both.
After 17 minutes, Fernandes made it 3-0 despite Moris getting a touch to his right-footed effort following Silva through the ball.
Morris, who also stopped Silva’s acrobatic effort, denied Ronaldo his hat-trick on the stroke of halftime.
Danel Sinani forced a rare save from Rui Patricio, while Palhinha and Fernandes both missed the goal after being found by Nuno Mendes’ probing deliveries.
Ronaldo’s overhead kick deserved to complete his triple, but Moris turned it over before Palhinha headed home from Fernandes’ next corner.
Luxembourg almost scored a consolation goal through Gerson Rodrigues, but Patricio saved his left-footed drive, and Ronaldo sealed the scoring with a header from Ruben Neves’ long cross.
What does it imply? Portugal maintains pressure on Serbia in the Group A summit.
Luxembourg may be third in the group with six points, but automatic qualifying for Qatar 2022 is a two-horse fight.
Serbia’s 3-1 win against Azerbaijan maintains them a point ahead of Portugal, despite the fact that Fernando Santos’ team has a game in hand with two games remaining. The top two clubs will face off on the final matchday in what is expected to be a winner-takes-all finale.
Moutinho, you are fantastic.
Joao Moutinho calmly went about his job and performed a midfield masterpiece as Ronaldo and Fernandes ran riot once more.
As many as his opponents combined, the 35-year-old made three vital passes and finished 23 passes in the opposing half, with only Joao Cancelo (25) completing more.
Sorry about that, Sebastien.
Thill had a rough performance before being substituted at halftime, failing to deal with Portugal’s strong midfield trio of Palhinha, Moutinho, and Fernandes.
In a hesitant performance from the Sheriff man, the Luxembourg midfielder conceded the first penalty against Bernardo Silva and won none of the four duels he played for.
What comes next?
On November 11, Portugal will play the Republic of Ireland in their next World Cup qualifying match, while Luxembourg will play Azerbaijan on the same day.