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Luxembourg 1-3 Portugal: Ronaldo puts Serbia frustration behind him in comeback win

By Patric Ridge
Cristiano Ronaldo

Luxembourg, March 31: Cristiano Ronaldo edged closer to Ali Daei's international goals record as he opened his account for the World Cup qualifying campaign in Portugal's 3-1 comeback win over Luxembourg.

Ronaldo had a last-gasp winner disallowed against Serbia on Saturday, but the Juventus star had no need to throw his captain's armband to the floor in anger this time around, nudging home to make it 2-1 to Portugal five minutes into the second half.

Fresh from his goal in Luxembourg's victory over the Republic of Ireland, Gerson Rodrigues had put the minnows – who had Maxime Chanot sent off late on – ahead with a smart header.

Diogo Jota levelled proceedings on the cusp of half-time to pave the way for Ronaldo's 103rd international goal and Joao Palhinha's header to send Portugal top of Group A.

Portugal had to wait until the 24th minute to have an attempt, Ronaldo drawing a comfortable stop out of Anthony Moris before Luxembourg's goalkeeper had a tougher save to make from Renato Sanches.

Yet it was Luxembourg who struck first. Danel Sinani looped in a cross from the right, and Rodrigues stooped low to head in his second goal in as many matches.

An injury to Joao Felix compounded Portugal's frustration but, despite Moris' best efforts, Luxembourg's resolve was broken when Jota headed in Pedro Neto's cross.

Parity did not last long, Ronaldo on hand to tuck in from Joao Cancelo's delivery.

Moris pulled off another superb stop, this time from Nuno Mendes, with Jota then glancing a header off the bar.

Ronaldo should have made it 3-1, only to twice fluff his lines after being gifted a one-on-one – Moris making two excellent saves.

But Luxembourg's goalkeeper was beaten again 10 minutes from time, Palhinha glancing Bernardo Silva's corner in off the upright to add gloss to a laboured performance before Chanot received his second booking for a foul on Sanches.

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Story first published: Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 2:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 31, 2021