Portugal 3-0 Hungary
André Silva scored one and created another for Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal defeated Hungary in front of a sellout crowd at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.
In stark contrast to the chaotic group stage encounter between the two sides at Euro 2016, Portugal were composed, if at times unspectacular, and deservedly secured victory while allowing only one shot on target all evening.
Fernando Santos surprised almost everyone by excluding Bernardo Silva in favor of André Gomes despite the former's excellent season with club side AS Monaco. Ricardo Quaresma's inclusion and the associated switch to a 4-3-3 was also not readily anticipated, meanwhile William was favored in place of Danilo for the holding midfield role.
Bernd Storck had clearly instructed his men not to lie in wait for Portugal's attacks, and much of the initial exchanges were characterized by Hungary's diligent possession and movement of the ball. Portugal gradually developed their passing game but found little room to advance into the attacking third.
Cédric directed a rather hopeful headed attempt on target in the 10th minute that was comfortable for Gulacsi. Minutes later Ronaldo saw a free kick deflected out for a corner after Andrè Silva was brought down within shooting range, but Hungary gave away precious little opportunity for Portugal to create chances through the first quarter hour.
Portugal's persistence eventually began to wear down Hungary's organization however, and Ronaldo really should have done better when Quaresma found him unmarked with a cross from the left side of the penalty area in the 20th minute.
But the Seleção found their way through just after the half hour mark. Cristiano Ronaldo received the ball just over midfield and spun brilliantly away from his marker then found Raphael Guerreiro unmarked on the left wing. The Borussia Dortmund playmaker had all the time he needed to get forward and pick out André Silva at the back post, and the 21 year old Porto phenomenon made no mistake.
But Silva showed he is capable of more than just finishing only minutes later when he controlled a cross-field pass with an exquisite back-heel straight into the path of Ronaldo, who doubled Portugal's lead with a controlled finish into the bottom left corner.
Portugal were brimming with confidence and continued to pour forward. Ronaldo turned a João Mário cross over the top into a bicycle kick effort on target in the 40th minute as Hungary struggled to contain the home side's testing of their defences.
Ronaldo scores 70th international goal
Bernd Storck had seen enough and made one change to start the 2nd half. Portugal kept the game in front of them while Hungary labored to create openings. But Cristiano Ronaldo put the game out of reach in the 65th minute with a direct free kick that picked out the bottom right corner, his 9th goal in four World Cup qualifying matches.
Portugal fans finally got what they were waiting for in the 67th minute when Bernardo came on for André Silva. Hungary recorded their first shot on target minutes later when Dzsudzsak sent in a volley from 35 yards. Bernardo headed over in the 85th minute from the center of the penalty area after great work from Quaresma on the wing, but Portugal were content to see out the result from a place of reserved control.
While not quite at top gear, Portugal yet again secured victory with a lopsided scoreline courtesy of the superior quality of their strikers. André Silva scored his 5th goal for Portugal while Ronaldo only ever seems to improve for Portugal despite his age. The Portugal captain was involved in every goal and nearly every attacking movement, dropping deep to receive the ball and showing the usual repertoire of skillful footwork and guile.
The defence, though rarely troubled, did what was asked of them in maintaining another clean sheet with both Cédric and Guerreiro active in the the offensive build-up in wide areas of the pitch. The enigma that is André Gomes maintained adequate control of midfield, but it must be said that this performance will not have won over fans convinced that Bernardo should have started in his place.
Finally, Ricardo Quaresma was surprisingly good despite his reputation as a not always consistent performer when introduced into the starting XI. Like Ronaldo, his influence seems to grow as he ages, and his endless array of dribbling innovations was as present and troublesome for the Hungarian defence as ever.
Portugal will round out this international break with a friendly against Sweden in Madeira on Tuesday.
by Nathan Motz
Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, José Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, William Carvalho, João Mário (Moutinho, 83'), André Gomes (Pizzi, 86'), Ricardo Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo, André Silva (Bernardo Silva, 67')
Hungary: Peter Gulacsi, Mihaly Korhut, Tamas Kadar, Vinicius, Adam Lang, Adam Nagy, Balazs Dzsudzsak, Zoltan Gera, Adam Gyurcsco (Kalmár, 69'), Barnabas Bese (Lovrencsics, 46'), Adam Szalai
[1-0] André Silva, 32'
[2-0] Cristiano Ronaldo, 36'
[3-0] Cristiano Ronaldo, 65'