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Luxembourg 0-6 Portugal: Ronaldo at the double again
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David Segar
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Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates scoring for Portugal against Luxembourg
Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates scoring for Portugal against Luxembourg

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal eased to a 6-0 win away at Luxembourg in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Ronaldo got the ball rolling early, before further goals from Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva made it 3-0 inside 18 minutes, while Ronaldo added another just after the half-hour mark.

Second-half goals from substitutes Otavio and Rafael Leao completed another routine victory for Portugal after their 4-0 win over Liechtenstein to kick off their qualifying campaign and the rein of new head coach Roberto Martinez.

They sit top of Group J after two games, two points ahead of Slovakia in second after their win against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Portugal took the lead in the ninth minute when a ball to the far post from Bruno Fernandes was headed back across goal by Nuno Mendes, giving Ronaldo a simple tap-in from close range.

The advantage was doubled just six minutes later, as this time Silva's inswinging ball from the right was nodded across Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris and into the corner of the net by Joao Felix.

Silva got on the end of a long pass from Joao Palhinha to head in the third, while Ronaldo grabbed his second and Portugal's fourth in the 31st minute when Fernandes played him through on goal, with the Al Nassr striker placing his left-foot shot low to Moris' right.

Portugal had another in the 77th minute when Leao and Otavio combined, with the latter heading home the Milan attacker's cross from the left.

Leao saw a late penalty saved by Moris after winning it himself, but made up for it shortly after when his run inside from the left ended with a composed finish.

What does it mean? More than meets the eye in Portugal thrashing

On the face of it, many might have predicted this outcome beforehand with the firepower of Portugal against the comparative minnows of Luxembourg.

However, despite the hosts' FIFA ranking of 92nd, they have improved in recent times, finishing second in League C Group 1 of the Nations League and only losing one of their previous nine games before this one, earning a 0-0 draw in their opening qualifier in Slovakia.

Luc Holtz's team were no match for their opponents here though, with Portugal having 14 shots, 62 per cent possession and winning 66 per cent of their duels.

Ronaldo keeps rolling back the years

When he was benched during the World Cup and moved to the Saudi Pro League in January, there were people who thought Ronaldo's time at the top was over.

While goals against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg might not exactly be the top level, the 38-year-old has showed he can still be a leading light in Martinez's team, recording four goals already in qualifying.

Fernandes and Palhinha pull the strings

In Martinez's preferred 3-4-3 formation, a lot is asked of the two central midfielders, but Fernandes and Palhinha appear to be an ideal combination.

Both provided steel — Fernandes winning possession five times while Palhinha won eight of his 12 duels — as well as creativity as the Manchester United man offered up three crosses and two key passes while Fulham star Palhinha completed 96.4 per cent of his 28 passes in the Luxembourg half.

What's next?

Luxembourg host Liechtenstein when qualifying resumes on June 17, while Portugal are at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina on the same day.


PortugalLuxembourgEuropean Championship
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