Portugal beat Luxembourg 5-0 at Estádio do Algarve in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick with goals to Bruno Fernandes and João Palhinha wrapping up a one-sided victory.
The win keeps the Seleção on track for automatic qualification for Qatar with two matches remaining.
It’s the Cristiano Ronaldo show
Portugal needed just eight minutes to take the lead in the Algarve.
Bernardo Silva went on a great solo run, beating Sébastien Thill and Michael Pinto before being fouled by Thill on the edge of the 18-yard box. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and slammed the penalty home.
It wasn't long before Ronaldo would get another chance from the spot. André Silva pounced on a loose touch from Dirk Carlson, Ronaldo taking the ball and surging into the 18-yard box where he beat Carlson before being taken out by goalkeeper Anthony Moris.
Ronaldo scored the penalty, but due to André Silva’s encroachment had to take it again and he made no mistake despite Moris diving the right way.
Portugal maintain the pressure
Portugal kept piling on the pressure and creating chances as André Silva saw his shot deflected over the bar. It was soon 3-0.
João Palhinha intercepted a poor pass from Moris and found Bernardo Silva who released Bruno Fernandes, the Manchester United playmaker firing a shot past Moris from a tight angle.
The opportunities kept coming in the Algarve. Ruben Dias headed Fernandes’ cross straight at Moris, Ronaldo and Bernardo forcing saves from Luxembourg's shot stopper who was getting plenty of practice.
André Silva headed Fernandes’ free kick straight at Moris as the half-time whistle sounded, much to the relief of the visitors who were struggling to make any impression with the ball.
More of the same
Portugal had a succession of shots following a corner with Rúben Dias, André Silva and Palhinha seeing shots blocked. Ronaldo fired narrowly wide after some great build up play from Nuno Mendes and André Silva.
Luxembourg finally managed a shot on target, but Danel Sinani’s shot was weak and easily saved by Rui Patrício.
Palhinha fired wide from a Fernandes free kick before André Silva broke free and shot wide from long range. It seemed a matter of time before Portugal extended their lead, Fernandes missing the target after a great cross from Nuno Mendes.
João Mário replaced João Moutinho in the 65th minute and Portugal made it 4-0 three minutes later.
Palhinha on target
João Cancelo’s cross found Ronaldo who produced an overhead bicycle kick that forced another save from Moris. From the resulting corner Palhinha rose highest to head the ball into the back of the net.
Luxembourg fashioned their best chance of the match not long after. Patrício’s poor pass was picked out by Leandro Barreiro, he released Gerson Rodrigues whose shot was tipped wide by Patrício.
Portugal failed to capitalise on a fast break after Ronaldo cleared the resulting corner.
Santos made two changes in the 73rd minute as João Palhinha and André Silva made way for Rúben Neves and Rafael Leão. Two more changes occurred in the 80th minute as Matheus Nunes and Gonçalo Guedes were introduced for Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva.
Cristiano Ronaldo only had one thing on his mind and he wouldn't be denied, securing yet another hat-trick in the 87th minute. A great pass from Rúben Neves found Ronaldo at the far post who headed past Moris.
He had one more chance to add to his international goal tally, firing a free kick over the bar after Cancelo had been fouled on the edge of the 18-yard-box.
Quick video review of Portugal's 5-0 win over Luxembourg at the Estádio do Algarve. pic.twitter.com/RWDSOtfohM— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) October 12, 2021
It was too easy for Portugal who never gave Luxembourg a chance, ending the game as a contest after just 17 minutes.
Fernando Santos is starting to put the pieces together with Bruno Fernandes playing in his preferred position. João Palhinha has definitely made the holding midfield role his own after a fantastic performance at both ends of the pitch.
Santos has so many options and with Diogo Jota, João Félix and Renato Sanches to return, he will have some difficult choices to make if the entire squad is fit.
Harder tests are on the horizon with Portugal taking on the Republic of Ireland in Dublin before the final World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Lisbon.
Portugal XI (4-2-3-1): Rui Patrício - João Cancelo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes - João Palhinha (Rúben Neves 73’), João Moutinho (João Mário 65’) - André Silva (Rafael Leão 73’), Bruno Fernandes (Matheus Nunes 80’), Bernardo Silva (Gonçalo Guedes 80’) - Cristiano Ronaldo
Unused substitutes: Anthony Lopes, Diogo Costa, José Fonte, Nélson Semedo, Diogo Dalot, Danilo Pereira, William Carvalho
Coach: Fernando Santos
[1-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 8’ P
[2-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 13’ P
[3-0] - Bruno Fernandes 17’
[4-0] - João Palhinha 69’
[5-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 87’