Ronaldo moves to fourth on European scoring list
PORTUGAL 3, HUNGARY 0
While Cristiano Ronaldo kept moving up Europe’s all-time scorers list Saturday, a demoralizing home loss to Bulgaria endangered the Netherlands’ World Cup qualification.
With two goals in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary in Lisbon, Ronaldo moved into fourth place on the all-time scorers list for European nations.
Ronaldo’s 70 in 137 appearances trail only Miroslav Klose (71), Sandor Kocsis (75) and Ferenc Puskas (84).
Ronaldo appears to have found his ideal partner up front in Andre Silva.
Silva, 21, scored Portugal’s opener in the 32nd before quickly getting Ronaldo on track.
Ronaldo struck both goals from outside the area, first slashing home a left-footer off Silva’s pass, followed by a right-footed free kick from an angle to seal the win.
Portugal strengthened its hold on second place with 12 points, opening a gap over Hungary, which stayed with seven points in third.
Switzerland earned a fifth win in as many matches after beating Latvia, 1-0, in Geneva to remain on top of the group with 15 points.
Still stuck at the bottom of the table, Andorra nevertheless savored the end to a losing streak that had lasted 58 competitive matches stretching over 11 years after drawing with Faroe Islands, 0-0, at home.
There was less good news for the Netherlands. Teenager Matthijs de Ligt’s dream debut turned into a nightmare as he handed Bulgaria an early goal in a 2-0 loss in Sofia in Group A.
Just five minutes into the match, De Ligt let a speculative ball fall over his shoulder before he collided with goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, allowing Spas Delev to tap in.
Delev made it 2-0 in the 20th minute when he curled a shot past De Ligt’s attempted block and into the bottom corner of Zoet’s goal.
Injuries had forced Coach Danni Blind to make the risky choice of De Ligt who, at 17, became the youngest Netherlands debutant since Mauk Weber in 1931.
After the stunning loss, the manager took the blame.
“I blame myself,” Blind told national broadcaster NOS, adding that, “It can’t go on like this. Things have to change.”
And in Group H, Romelu Lukaku saved Belgium’s place at the top of Group H, snatching a 1-1 draw in Brussels after being frustrated all night by an unyielding Greece defense.
Lukaku chested down the fall and fired past goalkeeper Stefano Kapino with two minutes remaining.
Greece finished the game with nine men but surprised the favorites just 20 seconds into the second half when Costas Mitroglou caught defenders off guard and scored.
MLS: Juan Agudelo scored twice, and Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist to lead the New England Revolution past Minnesota United, 5-2, in Foxborough, Mass.
Agudelo, just inside the sixyard box, headed home a perfect cross by Tierney in the fourth minute, and after Collen Warner tied it from well outside the area about 10 minutes later, Kei Kamara gave New England (1-2-0) the lead for good in the 21st . . . .
Matt VanOekel posted a shutout in his first MLS start, and shorthanded Real Salt Lake played the New York Red Bulls to a 0-0 draw in Harrison, N.J.
The 6-foot-4 VanOekel — starting in place of Nick Rimando, who is on international duty — made all three of his saves in the second half. Fredrik Gulbrandsen wove through four defenders into a clearing in the center of the box, but VanOekel made the onehanded stop, diving to his right to poke it away in the 63rd minute . . . .
Niko Hansen scored in his MLS debut and Ola Kamara scored a goal in his third consecutive game to lead the Columbus Crew to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Portland Timbers.