MX23RW : Monday, January 21 22:44:21
Mar 25, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
Portugal
3-0
Hungary
Silva (31'), Ronaldo (36', 65')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Result: Cristiano Ronaldo nets brace in Portugal win

Portugal return to within three points of Group B leaders Switzerland courtesy of a 3-0 win over Hungary in Saturday's 2018 World Cup qualification clash in Lisbon.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as European champions Portugal recorded a 3-0 win over Hungary in Saturday night's 2018 World Cup qualification fixture.

Portugal had fallen six points behind Group B leaders Switzerland before kickoff in Lisbon, but Fernando Santos's side returned to within three points of the summit after a comfortable success on home soil.

Ronaldo captained Portugal once again, while there was just a sixth international appearance for Porto striker Andre Silva, who netted four times in his first five fixtures for Santos's team.

Elsewhere, Ricardo Quaresma and Joao Mario were selected in the home side's XI, in addition to Jose Fonte, who kept his spot at the heart of the Portugal defence alongside Real Madrid's Pepe.

As for Hungary - who again included 37-year-old Zoltan Gera - Adam Gyurcso and Balazs Dzsudzsak were given attacking roles in support of lone striker Adam Szalai. Meanwhile, there was an international debut for Videoton defender Paulo Vinicius.

It was Portugal that had the game's first shot on target in the seventh minute of action, but Ronaldo's effort from distance was always wide of Peter Gulacsi's post, before Southampton right-back Cedric Soares headed straight into the arms of the Hungarian goalkeeper two minutes later.

Ronaldo's next opportunity came from a free kick in the 13th minute, but the number seven's effort was deflected wide of the post as Hungary, who showed bits and pieces on the counter-attack, survived some dangerous early moments in Lisbon.

The Ronaldo show continued to develop as the Real Madrid attacker met a cross from Quaresma in the 20th minute, but his header was just wide of the far post.

Hungary might have taken the lead just before the half-hour mark when Szalai met a deep cross from Gera, but the number nine's volley was over Rui Patricio's crossbar.

Portugal continued to threaten, however, and made the breakthrough in the 31st minute when Raphael Guerreiro delivered a wonderful cross into the path of Andre Silva, who simply converted into the bottom corner from close range.

Five minutes later, the home side doubled their lead when a sensational flick from Andre Silva found Ronaldo, and the forward smashed the ball into the bottom corner with pace and precision.

Ronaldo tried a spectacular overhead kick in the latter stages of the first period as Portugal continued to enjoy themselves on home soil, but Gulacsi managed to make the save as it remained 2-0 to the Iberian nation at the break.

Gergo Lovrencsics was introduced for Hungary at the interval as head coach Bernd Storck looked to freshen things up in the final third of the field, but it was an uphill struggle for the visitors as Portugal continued to dominate the ball.

Joao Mario had Portugal's first real attempt of the second period after working some space outside the Hungary box, but the midfielder's effort was always rising as it remained 2-0 to Santos's side with 53 minutes on the clock.

Quaresma's dancing feet continued to cause Hungary problems as the hour mark approached, and the Besiktas attacker might have done better after finding a yard of space inside the opposition's box in the 57th minute.

Portugal had their third in the 65th minute of action, however, when Ronaldo angled a long-range free kick into the bottom corner to double his total for the night.

AS Monaco's Bernardo Silva was introduced in the 67th minute as Santos demonstrated the quality that he possessed in reserve, and Portugal continued to cause problems as they looked for their fourth goal of the contest.

Andre Gomes tried his luck from distance in the 72nd minute, but the Barcelona midfielder's effort was always rising high of the Hungarian goal, which was under siege for the majority of the night in Lisbon.

Joao Moutinho was Portugal's second change of the night late on as Joao Mario was withdrawn, but chances were few and far between in the period that followed as Hungary dropped into a defensive shape in a bid to limit the damage.

The closest that Portugal came to scoring a fourth goal occurred when Quaresma delivered a brilliant cross onto the head of Bernardo Silva, but the attacker's header just dropped over the Hungarian crossbar as it finished 3-0 on the night following a couple of late opportunities for the visitors.

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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao on February 13, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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