MX23RW : Saturday, September 18 08:45:47| >> :600:232457:232457:
Oct 7, 2016 at 7.45pm UK
Portugal
6-0
AndorraAndorra
Ronaldo (2', 4', 47', 68'), Cancelo (44'), Silva (86')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Rubio (62'), Rebes (71')

Live Commentary: Portugal 6-0 Andorra - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the 2018 World Cup qualifier between Portugal and Andorra from Aveiro.
2

Portugal welcomed Andorra to Aveiro on Friday night looking to record their first Group B victory of their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.

The home side led by two goals inside four minutes courtesy of a quick-fire brace from Cristiano Ronaldo, before Joao Cancelo made it 3-0 in the penultimate minute of the first period.

Ronaldo completed his hat-trick early in the second half and it got worse for Andorra in the 62nd minute when Jordi Rubio was handed his marching orders after picking up a second yellow for a poor challenge on Ronaldo.

The visitors were then reduced to nine men when Marc Rebes received a straight red in the 71st minute, before Andre Silva made it six in the final stages as Portugal ran riot on home soil.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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Evening all! Sports Mole's live 2018 World Cup qualification coverage continues from Aveiro as European Championship holders Portugal welcome minnows Andorra in Group B. Portugal will actually enter this match off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in their group opener last month, while Andorra lost 1-0 at home to Latvia. There should be goals tonight as Portugal target their first Group B win.

Tonight will be just the fourth time that these two nations have met in international football. Their first meeting came in August 1999, when Portugal recorded a 4-0 win on home soil. The pair also clashed during qualification for the 2002 World Cup and Portugal were 3-0 winners at home before recording a 7-1 victory away. In truth, it is a massive, massive ask for Andorra in this game.

Andorra's first official game was a 6-1 friendly defeat against Estonia in 1996. Since the qualifying rounds for Euro 2000, Andorra have competed in qualifying for every European Championship and World Cup, but have only ever won three matches – all at home. Just one of those was a competitive match – a 1-0 success over Macedonia in October 2004. It is a quite staggering record.

Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from this World Cup qualifier. Who has Portugal boss Fernando Santos tasked with getting the job done tonight? I suspect a certain Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the XI. Let's take a look at the two teams...

Cristiano Ronaldo during the Euro 2016 Group F game between Portugal and Iceland on June 14, 2016© AFP


TEAMS!

POR: Patricio; Cancelo, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Gomes, Moutinho, A.Silva; B.Silva, Ronaldo, Quaresma

ANDORRA: Gomes; Rubio, Lima, Vales, Llovera, Garcia; Rodrigues, Vieira, Rebes, Martinez; Alaez


As expected, Cristiano Ronaldo returns to the Portugal XI tonight in his first international match since the final of Euro 2016. Joao Cancelo, Andre Gomes and Andre Silva are also given starting roles, while Bernardo Silva and Ricardo Quaresma are chosen ahead of Nani and Eder in the final third. In-demand Sporting Lisbon attacker Gelson Martins starts on the bench for the home side.

Andorra, meanwhile, will seemingly line up in a 5-4-1 formation tonight. Jordi Alaez, who is just 18, will win his fourth international cap from centre-forward, while Marcio Vieira and Marc Rebes are also given spots in the selection. Centre-back Ildefons Lima will win his 102nd cap tonight as he chases down the record held by Oscar Sonejee, who ended his Andorra career on 106 caps. Josep Gomes, who plays his club football in the lower leagues in Spain, starts between the sticks in Aveiro.

So there we have it. The two teams are in and we are now just under 40 minutes from kickoff on this warm evening in Aveiro. I shall talk a little bit more about Andorra in the build-up to 7.45pm, but let's first focus on Portugal, who enjoyed Euro 2016 success in the summer, but actually kicked off their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat in Switzerland.

Portugal's forward Ricardo Quaresma celebrates with teammate Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring against Estonia on June 8, 2016© AFP


Portugal actually had more possession and more shots than Switzerland in their Group B clash last month, but without Ronaldo they lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the field. It was a disappointing way to open their group campaign, but in truth, they will still fancy their chances of topping a group that also included Latvia, Faroe Islands and Hungary. They should win and win well tonight.

Portugal did not qualify for any World Cup between 1930 and 1962, but they did make the finals in 1966 and indeed finished in third position. Another disappointing period was to come, but since 2002, they have finished fourth (2010) and reached the round of 16 (2010). The 2014 competition in Brazil was very disappointing though as they bowed out in the group stages.

The Iberian nation might have a fairly underwhelming World Cup record, but they have been very strong in the European Championships since 2000. Indeed, over the last 16 years, they have reached two semi-finals, finished as runners-up and won the competition in France this summer.

Ricardo Quaresma celebrates scoring during the Euro 2016 RO16 match between Croatia and Portugal on June 25, 2016© Getty Images


In terms of what is to come for Portugal, they will travel to the Faroe Islands for their third group match on October 10, before facing Latvia at home next month in their final competitive fixture of 2016. International football then breaks until next March, when they will take on Hungary at home. By that point, Fernando Santos will expect to be sitting comfortably at the top of the group.

As for Andorra, it will not come as a surprise to learn that they have never qualified for the finals of an international tournament. Indeed, as mentioned, they have only ever won one competitive match. Six members of their current squad play their football outside of Andorra, but five of those compete in the lower leagues of Spanish football, which is an indication of their credentials at this level.

With the Andorran domestic league only part-time, it is a nation made up of mainly amateur footballers. They actually reached 125th in the FIFA ranking in 2005, but have since dropped to 203rd and that is where they stand entering this fixture. Matches involving the likes of Andorra have been widely criticised over the last few years due to their non-competitive nature.

Andorra's defender Max Llovera (L) vies with Belgium's midfielder Dries Mertens during the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying football match group D Andorra against Belgium on October 10, 2015 at Municipal Stadium in Andorra La Vella.© Getty Images


That said, the Tricolours only lost 1-0 at home to Latvia in their group opener last month. They also managed to find the back of the net in their Euro 2016 qualifier against Belgium last October – suffering a 4-1 defeat. Incidentally, the scorer in that match – Ildefons Lima – is their all-time leading scorer on 10 goals from 101 caps. Lima, who is 36 and starts tonight, is a centre-back.

In terms of what is ahead for Andorra, this very difficult double-header will see them welcome Switzerland on Monday night, before travelling to Hungary in November for their final competitive match of 2016. With the best will in the world, Andorra are not going to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but any signs of progress and any shock results will certainly aid their fight going forward.


TEAMS!

POR: Patricio; Cancelo, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Gomes, Moutinho, A.Silva; B.Silva, Ronaldo, Quaresma

ANDORRA: Gomes; Rubio, Lima, Vales, Llovera, Garcia; Rodrigues, Vieira, Rebes, Martinez; Alaez


Here we go then. The national anthems have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere in the stadium tonight. Here's to a good game!

KICKOFF! Portugal kick things off on home soil...

... as expected, Portugal have immediately taken control of the possession on home soil. I am expecting the home side to put some serious numbers on the board tonight, but Andorra have five at the back and might well be tough to break down, especially in the opening 10, 15 minutes here.

GOAL! Portugal 1-0 Andorra (Ronaldo)

Okay. Well, that did not take long. Portugal lead just two minutes into this match as Ronaldo volleys home from inside the box after Andorra fail to deal with a second corner in quick succession.

GOAL! Portugal 2-0 Andorra (Ronaldo)

That is game, set and match then. Portugal have their second and indeed Ronaldo has his second as he heads a super Quaresma cross into the bottom corner from close range. Terrible defending!

Portugal continue to force the issue in the early exchanges and Quaresma threatens the Andorra defence with a super free kick from the right, but Vales manages to clear the danger. It just keeps coming back though and Andorra are really, really struggling just seven minutes into this game.

It is almost like a training match for Portugal as they continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field. Andorra are just trying to hold on at the moment as they risk conceding a third inside 10 minutes.

Andorra manage to venture down-field as Rebes dribbles past a couple of players, but Moutinho stops the midfielder in his tracks. Finally the visitors have managed to ease some of the pressure.

Half-chance for the visitors, but Rodrigues's effort was always wide of the post.

Just a reminder that Ronaldo entered this match having only scored once in the league for Real Madrid this season and with question marks over his form. Well, the forward is well on his way to grabbing another career hat-trick and in truth, it would be a big surprise if he did not complete it.

Ronaldo goes down inside the Andorra box and wants a spot kick, but the referee is not interested. That is now a couple of penalty appeals involving Ronaldo that the referee has turned down.

Andorra need to be very, very careful here as they continue to fly into challenges. No yellow cards in tonight's match, but I suspect that will not be the case at the end of the 90 minutes here.

In fairness to Andorra, Portugal have not actually had a clear chance since Ronaldo made it 2-0 in the fourth minute. The home side continue to utterly dominate the ball, but the visitors have certainly tightened up at the back. Shame that they could not get it together in the early moments!

CHANCE! Ronaldo should make it 3-0 as Cancelo delivers a terrific cross onto the head of the Portugal captain, but his effort is away from goal. Super work from Cancelo down the right.

There are some very, very tasty challenges taking place at the moment! The Austrian referee needs to get a grip on this match as the nastiness continues. Ronaldo is not best pleased with some of the tackles.

No real tempo to Portugal's game at the moment as Andorra just sit in and defend the edge of their own box. The game is over as a contest and Portugal know it, which has really slowed the pace.

There is no real atmosphere in the stadium at the moment, which is a shame because the supporters were so fired-up ahead of kickoff. That is the danger when a couple of early goals come for the team that are expected to win comfortably. Andorra are now in a much better shape.

BOOKING! Rodrigues (Andorra) is booked for a terrible tackle on Ronaldo.

SAVE! What a save! Quaresma delivers a stunning free kick onto the head of Fonte, but somehow Gomes makes the save. It is brilliant work from the Andorra goalkeeper there.

CHANCES! Gomes dances into the Andorra box after another period of Portugal pressure, but the midfielder just about runs out of space. Moments later, Ronaldo heads just wide of the post as the home side click into gear once again. The delivery from Quaresma was absolutely wonderful once again.

Portugal have upped the tempo in the last few minutes as they look for a third goal before the break and Cancelo is causing all sorts of problems down the right as he links with Quaresma.

BOOKING! Pepe (Portugal) is booked for chopping Lima to the deck.

CROSSBAR! Sensational from Quaresma once again as the winger puts a cross onto the head of Andre Silva, but his header hits the crossbar! Should have made it 3-0 Portugal there.

Portugal continue to put the pressure on as Gomes feeds Ronaldo, who plays in Quaresma, but the attacker's effort is too high and Andorra survive once again. This could already be five or six here.

I would be astounded if we did not see more goals in the second period, especially with Andorra sure to tire as the play progresses. The referee still has not got to grips with this match as the late challenges continue to arrive. Fortunately, no-one has picked up an injury thus far tonight.

Pass, pass, pass from Portugal as they continue to utterly dominate the ball and Andorra are all over the place at the back as they struggle under the pressure. The visitors really need the whistle to come.

This has been a nasty first period, which is a very disappointing thing to say. The referee has been unable to get to grips with this game as late challenge after late challenge continue to arrive.

GOAL! Portugal 3-0 Andorra (Cancelo)

Portugal have their third as Cancelo finds the bottom corner from a very wide angle! How on earth has the right-back squeezed that one in! Not sure if it was a cross or shot, but it is 3-0 Portugal.

HALF-TIME: Portugal 3-0 Andorra

So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Portugal leading Andorra 3-0 in this Group B clash. Ronaldo scored twice inside four minutes to send Portugal on their way, before Cancelo made it three in the 44th minute. It has been very, very straightforward for the home side.

STATISTICS! Portugal have utterly dominated the possession with 73%, while they have had 12 attempts - five of which have been on target. Andorra, meanwhile, have missed the target with both of their first-half attempts. Just the two bookings to report, but there should have been many more.

BENCH WATCH! Portugal have a wealth of attacking talent on their bench tonight and the likes of Pizzi, Eder, Mario, Martins, Danilo and Sanches will be hoping to play a part in the second period. Andorra, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Clemente, Martinez, Moreira and Pujol in Aveiro.

Two goals already for this man tonight...

Cristiano Ronaldo during the Euro 2016 Group F game between Portugal and Iceland on June 14, 2016© AFP


RESTART! Andorra kick things off in the second period...

... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, you suspect that both managers will already have alterations in mind as the match progresses here.

SAVE! Smart save from Gomes, who keeps out a swinging strike from Bernardo Silva.

GOAL! Portugal 4-0 Andorra (Ronaldo, hat-trick)

Portugal have their fourth and Ronaldo has his third as the Real Madrid forward expertly volleys an Andre Gomes cross into the bottom corner. It is a wonderful, wonderful finish from the captain.

ANDORRA SUB! Nicolas replaces Marc Garcia for the away side.

Not for the first time, Rubio brings Ronaldo to the deck with a poor challenge, but the referee is happy for the play to continue without another booking. The official has been poor tonight.

Pin-ball inside the Andorra box as Moutinho and Bernardo Silva both have efforts, but the ball drifts wide of the post with the score still 4-0 Portugal. There is some movement on the home bench...

... PORTUGAL SUB! Antunes replaces Guerreiro for the home side.

BOOKING! Rubio (Andorra) is booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo.

Not too much of an atmosphere inside the stadium at the moment and in truth, it has not been a great game to watch due to the gulf in class between the two sides. Portugal were always going to win tonight and win well, but the nastiness on display has made it a difficult watch at times.

SAVE! Gomes has to shuffle across to keep out Gomes's long drive.

Ronaldo is hauled down by Lima and Portugal have a free kick in a dangerous position here...

... Ronaldo's free kick hits the top of the wall and bounces over for a corner kick.

Little under 30 minutes of this Group B clash remaining and Portugal continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field. I still fancy at least two more goals before the night is over here.

RED CARD! RUBIO!

Rubio is handed his marching orders as he picks up a second yellow for a poor tackle on Ronaldo.

Rubio has been an accident waiting to happen all night and deserves to be sent off in this match. Andorra now have a long time to play with 10 men against Ronaldo and his mates here.

PORTUGAL SUB! Joao Mario replaces Gomes for the home side.

Little over 20 minutes of football remaining and Portugal are so in control that it is almost painful. The home side continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field while Andorra hold on for dear life. It is very much a training exercise of attack versus defence with 68 minutes played.

GOAL! Portugal 5-0 Andorra (Ronaldo)

Four for Ronaldo and five for Portugal as the 31-year-old turns a volley into the bottom corner after a brilliant header from Fonte. It is another terrific finish from the Portugal captain tonight.

RED CARD! REBES!

Andorra are down to nine men here as Rebes receives a red card for a lunge on Ronaldo!

PORTUGAL SUB! Gelson Martins replaces Pepe for the home side.

ANDORRA SUB! Pujol replaces Alaez for the away side.

Little over 15 minutes remaining in Aveiro and Portugal are not finished as they continue to flood players forward, but a smart save from Gomes prevents Bernardo Silva from making it 6-0.

ANDORRA SUB! Moreira replaces Martinez for the away side.

Andorra force their first corner of the match 10 minutes from time, but it is comfortable for Portugal as Mario rises to clear the danger and the break is very much on for the home side...

... SAVE! Gomes makes a stunning save to keep out a close-range Andre Silva header!

CLOSE! Ronaldo sets up Andre Silva with a super cross, but he heads wide of the post once again. The Porto midfielder could have had four of five goals himself in this match!

Little under 10 minutes of football remaining and Portugal are in the mood for more goals. Quaresma, who has been desperate for a goal tonight, strikes one from distance, but his effort was always moving over the crossbar. Andorra just cannot wait for the final whistle to arrive here.

In truth, Andorra are fortunate to only be five goals behind at this stage. Portugal could well have hit eight or nine tonight. That said, there are still more than five minutes remaining against the nine men!

BOOKING! Lima (Andorra) is booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo...

... GOAL! Portugal 6-0 Andorra (Andre Silva)

Portugal have their sixth of the night as Andre Silva converts from close range after Gomes had palmed a Mario free kick straight into the path of the midfielder. About time for Andre Silva!

Antunes heads wide of the post as Andorra survive another period of serious, serious pressure. In truth, this game has become a bit of a joke in the second period. Referee, blow your whistle!

Three additional minutes at the end of the second period.

SAVE! Patricio has to make a save to keep out a free kick from Pujol.

In truth, this could have been nine or 10 tonight. It could have been anything. Andorra have been poor in so many areas and their discipline has let them down badly. Not long left in Aveiro.

FULL-TIME: Portugal 6-0 Andorra

So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Portugal running out 6-0 winners on home soil against nine-man Andorra. Just what the doctor ordered for the hosts! That is just about it from me tonight, but be sure to stay on the site to check out tonight's international action!

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Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring during the Euro 2016 Group F match between Hungary and Portugal on June 22, 2016
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