Ron­aldo hits four in Por­tu­gal’s 6-0 vic­tory over An­dorra

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo scored four times as Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship hold­ers Por­tu­gal recorded a 6-0 win over nine-man An­dorra in yes­ter­day night's 2018 World Cup qual­i­fier in Aveiro.

Fer­nando San­tos's suf­fered a 20 de­feat to Switzer­land in their Group B opener last month, but re­sponded in style as four for Ron­aldo strikes from Joao Cancelo and An­dre Silva se­cured all the points against a side that fin­ished two play­ers short dur­ing a match that was marred by ill-dis­ci­pline.

It took less than two min­utes for the home side to make the break­through, with Ron­aldo vol­ley­ing home from in­side the box af­ter An­dorra failed to clear a sec­ond corner in quick suc­ces­sion.

Less than two min­utes later, Por­tu­gal, who were full of pur­pose af­ter the Switzer­land de­feat, had their sec­ond when Ron­aldo headed a won­der­ful Ricardo Quaresma cross into the bot­tom corner as the vis­i­tors sim­ply folded un­der the pres­sure in the early ex­changes.

An­dorra ac­tu­ally had a halfchance of their own in the 12th minute when Vic­tor Ro­drigues struck one from out­side the Por­tu­gal box, but the 18-year-old's ef­fort was al­ways mov­ing wide of the post.

Por­tu­gal had an­other bril­liant chance in the 28th minute when Quaresma de­liv­ered a su­per free kick onto the head of Jose Fonte, but An­dorra goal­keeper Gomes was on hand to make a won­der­ful point-blank save to keep the score at 2-0.

The op­por­tu­ni­ties con­tin­ued to ar­rive for the home side as An­dre Gomes and Ron­aldo came close to a third in the lat­ter stages of the first pe­riod, be­fore An­dre Silva rat­tled the cross­bar with a close-range header in the 36th minute.

The pres­sure was re­lent­less though and Por­tu­gal even­tu­ally had their third in the penul­ti­mate minute of the first pe­riod when right-back Cancelo some­how squeezed the ball past Gomes from what seemed an im­pos­si­ble an­gle af­ter break­ing into the An­dor­ran box.

Less than two min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod, Por­tu­gal had their fourth and Ron­aldo com­pleted his hat-trick as the 31year-old found the bot­tom corner with a bril­liant vol­ley af­ter meet­ing a cross from Gomes.

Joao Moutinho and An­dre Silva both had op­por­tu­ni­ties to add to the scor­ing be­fore the hour, but An­dorra goal­keeper Gomes made two smart saves in quick suc­ces­sion to keep the score down to 4-0 with 30 min­utes of foot­ball to play on the night.

An­dorra were re­duced to 10 men in the 62nd minute, how­ever, when Jordi Ru­bio, who was an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen all night, picked up his sec­ond yel­low card for a ter­ri­ble chal­lenge on Ron­aldo.

Ron­aldo bounced straight back, how­ever, and scored his fourth of the night in the 68th minute when he fired home from close range af­ter Fonte had won a header at the far post.

It got worse for the vis­i­tors in the 71st minute when Marc Rebes was sent off for a lunge on Ron­aldo and Por­tu­gal were ab­so­lutely ram­pant as they went in search of more goals.

An­dre Silva should have scored with a close-range header 13 min­utes from time, but Gomes made a stun­ning save.

Por­tu­gal did have their sixth in the 86th minute when An­dre Silva con­verted from close range, how­ever, and that was how it fin­ished in Aveiro as the home side col­lected all the points in ex­tremely com­fort­able fash­ion.

Next up for San­tos's side is a trip to Faroe Is­lands on Monday, while An­dorra's search for just their sec­ond ever com­pet­i­tive win will con­tinue at home to Switzer­land on the same night. Mo­tor-rac­ing 8am, GO Sports 1, 2016 F1 Emi­rates Ja­panese Grand Prix – qual­i­fy­ing (live) Ten­nis 10.30am, GO Sports 3, ATP World Tour – China Open, Bei­jing, semi­fi­nals –1 (live) 3pm, GO Sports 3, ATP World Tour – China Open, Bei­jing, semi­fi­nals –2 (live) 05.00, GO Sports 3, ATP World Tour – Rakuten Ja­pan Open Cham­pi­onships, Tokyo, semi­fi­nals (live) Golf 2pm, GO Sports 3, PGA Euro­pean Tour – Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship Day 3 (live) 01.00, GO Sports 1, PGA Euro­pean Tour – Fiji In­ter­na­tional Day 4 (live) Rugby 4pm, GO Sports 1, Aviva Premiership round 6, Har­lequins-Northamp­ton Saints (live)

To­mor­row

Foot­ball 8.45pm, TVM 2, World Cup Rus­sia 2018 Group qual­i­fier, (live) Mo­tor-rac­ing 6.30am, GO Sports 1, 2016 F1 Emi­rates Ja­panese Grand Prix – pre-race pro­gramme (live) 7am, GO Sports 1, 2016 F1 Emi­rates Ja­panese Grand Prix – race (live) Ten­nis 1.30pm, GO Sports 2, ATP World Tour – China Open, Bei­jing, fi­nal (live) 6.30am, GO Sports 3, ATP World Tour – Rakuten Ja­pan Open Cham­pi­onships, Tokyo, fi­nal (live) Golf 1.30pm, GO Sports 3, PGA Euro­pean Tour – Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship Day 4 (live) Rugby 4pm, GO Sports 1, Aviva Premiership round 6, Har­lequins-Northamp­ton Saints (live)

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