Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro 2020: Ronaldo moves onto 99 as Portugal qualify

Euro 2020: Ronaldo moves onto 99 as Portugal qualify

Last updated on: November 18, 2019 09:34 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGE: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo scores their second goal. Photograph: Johanna Geron/Reuters

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 99th international goal as the defending champions edged past Luxembourg 2-0 in difficult conditions away from home on Sunday to qualify for Euro 2020.

Bruno Fernandes broke the deadlock in the 39th minute and Ronaldo wrapped it up with four minutes left to ensure that Portugal finished second in Group B with 17 points, three ahead of Serbia who drew 2-2 with Ukraine.

 

Diogo Jota’s shot appeared to be going in any way but Ronaldo prodded it over to claim the goal.

He is one short of joining Iran’s Ali Daei, the only player to have scored a century of goals for a national team.

Portugal survived several early scares as they struggled to impose their game on a rain-soaked pitch full of divots at the Josy Barthel stadium.

Ronaldo, in particular, was not enjoying the conditions and gestured angrily at the pitch after sending a speculative wide in the first half.

Needing a win to qualify without having to worry about Serbia’s result, Portugal were in trouble early on as Luxembourg saw a chance to spring an upset.

Maurice Deville got above his marker and headed over from Laurent Jans’ cross and Vincent Thill, a thorn in Portugal’s side, had a goalbound shot blocked by Ruben Dias.

Luxembourg were even closer when a corner found Gerons Rodrigues unmarked but he headed over.

Portugal began to adapt to the conditions and their more direct approach was rewarded with a goal.

Bernardo Silva floated a pass over the Luxembourg defence from deep inside his own half and into the path of Fernandes who took it superbly in his stride and fired a low shot between Anthony Moris and the near post.

The second half was more comfortable for Portugal as they dominated possession although there still anxious moments.

Ronaldo nearly sealed it when he curled a free kick narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

With four minutes left, Silva’s cross found Jota and Moris got a hand to it but could not stop it crossing the line and Ronaldo poked it home for good measure.

France celebrate 2-0 win in Albania's new stadium

World champions France produced a fitting inaugural match in Albania's newly-built Arena Kombetare stadium after goals from Corentin Tolisso and Antoine Griezmann gave them a 2-0 win in a Euro 2020 Group H qualifier on Sunday.

Having already booked their berth in next year's 24-nation tournament, France finished top of the group on 25 points from 10 games, two ahead of second-placed Turkey who cruised to a 2-0 win at Andorra.

Albania, who had no chance of breaking into the top two, looked subdued in front of a passionate home crowd and UEFA dignitaries including the soccer governing body's chief Aleksander Ceferin.

Tolisso fired the French into an eighth-minute lead when he headed home superbly inside the near post after Griezmann swung in an inviting free kick from the left.

Griezmann netted the second in the 31st minute when he turned in a sharp low cross by Leo Dubois, as the gulf in class between the two sides was everywhere to be seen in front of a capacity 22,000 crowd.

France continued to press after the break and Olivier Giroud missed three chances to extend their lead, having twice been denied by goalkeeper Etrit Berisha before hitting the post with a fierce shot from inside the penalty area.

Turkey, who also sealed qualification with a match to spare, breezed past Andorra thanks to a first-half brace from striker Enes Unal.

In the group's other fixture, Iceland eked out a 2-1 win in Moldova and although the Nordic nation failed to progress from the group, they will have another chance through the playoffs in March.

Source: source
© Copyright 2019 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT