Portugal had few difficulties beating Qatar 3-0 in an international friendly at Estádio do Algarve. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 37th minute with second half goals to José Fonte and André Silva wrapping it up.
Fernando Santos handed senior Seleção debuts to Diogo Costa, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leão, full-back Diogo Dalot producing a man of the match performance. PortuGOAL's Matthew Marshall reports from the Algarve.
Portugal dominate from the get go
Portugal’s dominance over Qatar was established early in the contest with the Seleção probing for openings against a packed defence.
Ronaldo sent André Silva through on goal, he appeared to be pushed by Abdelkarim Hassan but no penalty was forthcoming after a VAR review.
Silva had another chance minutes later, played in by Matheus Nunes with goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb coming out and making an important save.
Nunes was next to have a penalty claim denied, latching on to Danilo Pereira’s pass and taken out by Hassan.
Hassan’s problems against Portugal persisted, Gonçalo Guedes robbing him of the ball and going on great solo run, beating two players before his shot took a touch off Al Sheeb and went wide.
Diogo Dalot shot wide before providing a cross for Ronaldo who headed straight at Qatar's goalkeeper who was becoming increasingly involved.
Ronaldo makes amends
Portugal’s best effort was soon to come, Dalot releasing Ronaldo who shot wide with Al Sheeb to beat. He wouldn’t have to wait long for another chance.
Matheus Nunes’ ball over the top found Dalot near the goal line, he headed back towards goal where Bassam Hisham had an amateurish airswing, Ronaldo accepting the invitation and smashing the ball into the back of the net.
Fernando Santos made two changes at the break with Nélson Semedo and Rafael Leão replacing Nuno Mendes and Ronaldo.
Portugal extend their lead
Three minutes into the second half Portugal doubled their lead.
Guedes was fouled near the touch line, João Mário’s free kick met by Danilo who saw his header saved, but only as far as José Fonte who was on hand to score from close range.
Santos made two changes in the 61st minute with João Palhinha and Bernardo Silva replacing William Carvalho and Gonçalo Guedes.
Dalot’s switch to left back was not diminishing his impact on the game, beating Tarek Salman before André Silva volleyed his cross over the bar.
The changes kept coming as João Moutinho and Bruno Fernandes replaced João Mário and Matheus Nunes in the 71st minute.
It's the Rafael Leão show
Rafael Leão became increasingly involved against a tiring Qatar defence and would dominate the final 10 minutes of play. His cross found André Silva whose shot was saved, but Leão was just getting started.
The in-form AC Milan forward hit the bar with a shot from distance, Hisham’s clearance collected by Diogo Dalot who fired home from a tight angle but was ruled to have handled the ball.
A lovely long ball from Bruno Fernandes then released Leão, the ball taking a deflection past Al Sheeb, and just when it seemed Leão would finish into an empty net he managed to hit the post from a yard out.
Leão still had time to make an impact however, an accurate cross picking out André Silva who headed past Al Sheeb in the 90th minute to add some gloss to the performance.
The writing was on the wall early on for Diogo Dalot, regularly switching positions with Gonçalo Guedes which allowed him to advance into attacking positions.
Dalot provided chances for Ronaldo, one of which resulted in the opening goal and was confident enough to take shots on goal.
The Manchester United full-back was just as effective at in the second half after switching flanks. He had a goal ruled out in the closing stages which would have been the icing on the cake, but he was still the standout performer and an easy choice for man of the match.
Matheus Nunes made his first appearance for Portugal after a brief tug of war between his adopted country Brazil, his birthplace. He won an early free kick that Ronaldo fired into the wall before sending André Silva through on goal.
The Sporting CP midfielder made a number of interceptions and it was his pass that was the precursor for Portugal’s opening goal.
Portugal have an abundance of talent in central midfield, but having the 23-year-old in the mix gives Santos another valuable option moving forward.
Rafael Leão took some time to get involved, but once he did Qatar's defence had few answers.
Leão hit the bar from distance before managing to miss a glorious chance to score on his senior international debut.
His assist for André Silva was a consolation prize, but he showed enough to suggest he will continue to be part of Santos' squad for the remainder of the World Cup qualifiers.
Diogo Costa had little to do against Qatar, but it was a significant match for him and a significant selection from Santos.
Costa was a consistent performer for Portugal's youth teams and deserved his chance to be Porto's first choice goalkeeper this season.
Rui Patrício and Anthony Lopes are currently ahead of him in the pecking order, but it seems logical that Costa is on target to be Portugal's next number one.
Portugal XI (4-3-3): Diogo Costa - Diogo Dalot, José Fonte, Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes (Nélson Semedo 46’) - João Mário (João Moutinho 70’), William Carvalho (João Palhinha 61’), Matheus Nunes (Bruno Fernandes 70’) - Cristiano Ronaldo (Rafael Leão 46’), André Silva, Gonçalo Guedes (Bernardo Silva 61’)
Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, Anthony Lopes, Rúben Dias, Pepe, João Cancelo
Coach: Fernando Santos
[1-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 37’
[2-0] - José Fonte 48’
[3-0] - André Silva 90’