Ronaldo scores brace to help Portugal crush Luxembourg
In the match between Luxembourg and Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifiers on March 26th, superstar Cristiano Ronaldo showed that he is still at the peak of his game by scoring a brace against Luxembourg. As a result, Portugal won a resounding 6-0 victory, solidifying their position at the top of Group J.
In the second match of the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifiers, led by new head coach Roberto Martinez, Portugal continued to set historic milestones. Despite being the away team against Luxembourg, who is ranked 92nd in the FIFA rankings (83 places lower than Portugal), the squad easily scored six goals and kept a clean sheet.
This performance showed that Ronaldo and Portugal are still formidable forces in international football, leaving their arch-rival, Lionel Messi, “trailing behind”.
Starting at Stade de Luxembourg, Cristiano Ronaldo played his 198th game for the Portugal national team and continued to hold the record for the most appearances for “Brazil of Europe”. The Al Nassr striker also demonstrated his class by scoring a quick-fire brace against goalkeeper Anthony Moris.
Under the tenure of head coach Roberto Martinez, Ronaldo is experiencing a strong resurgence. The 38-year-old forward scored the opening goal just nine minutes after the kickoff whistle by referee Radu Petrescu.
In the 9th minute, Bernardo Silva broke through from the right flank and passed back to Bruno Fernandes, who crossed the ball into the penalty area for Nuno Mendes to head and assist Ronaldo in easily tapping the ball into the net to open the scoring for Portugal.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner continued his excellent form with his second goal against Luxembourg in the 31st minute. He scored a decisive left-footed shot to beat goalkeeper Moris once again, after a clever pass from midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
This was Ronaldo’s second consecutive brace, proving that he is not past his prime as previously thought during the last days of Fernando Santos’ tenure as Portugal’s head coach.
Overall, Ronaldo’s impressive performance demonstrates that he and Portugal remain a formidable force in international football.
It can be said that Ronaldo has a great affinity with the Luxembourg net. His double this morning, March 27, brought his total number of goals against this team to 11, in only 11 matches.
Aside from Ronaldo’s brace, the other 4 goals for Portugal were evenly distributed among 4 players: Joao Felix (15′), Bernardo Silva (18′), Otavio (77′), and Rafael Leao (88′).
Among them, Leao left a strong impression after being brought on by Martinez in the 77th minute to replace Bruno Fernandes. Just 2 minutes after coming on, the AC Milan striker provided the assist for Otavio’s goal, the fourth for Portugal.
Later, he scored the sixth and final goal for his team in the 88th minute with a decisive right-footed shot, redeeming himself for missing a penalty in the 85th minute.
With 2 consecutive resounding victories in the first 2 matches of the EURO 2024 qualifying round, Portugal leads Group J. They are 2 points ahead of Slovakia, who is currently in second place.
With 2 goals, Ronaldo reached 122 goals in 198 appearances for the Portugal national team, extending his record as the all-time leading international goal scorer. He also solidified his position as the greatest international striker of all time with three more goals than former Iranian legend Ali Daei. At 38 years old, Ronaldo is proving that age is just a number.
The second-highest scorer on the list is former Iranian striker Ali Daei with 109 goals in 148 appearances for Iran. Lionel Messi is currently third with 99 goals in 173 appearances for Argentina.
The gap between Ronaldo and Messi in terms of international goals has now widened to 23 goals. This is a significant difference and may not be easy for Messi to overcome, although he is three years younger than Ronaldo and still in excellent form.
Argentina will continue their FIFA Days with a match against Curacao on March 28th. This will be another opportunity for Messi to score and narrow the gap with Ronaldo before returning to his club.
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