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WC qualifiers: Ronaldo tricks; crowd trouble at Eng, Poland matches

October 13, 2021 11:53 IST
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Images and summary of all the World Cup 2022 qualifiers played across continents on Tuesday.

Ronaldo nets hat-trick as Portugal rout Luxembourg

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Portugal second goal against Luxembourg at Estadio Algarve in Faro, Faro

IMAGE: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Portugal second goal against Luxembourg at Estadio Algarve in Faro, Faro. Photograph: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

A 58th career hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal stroll to a 5-0 home win over Luxembourg in Group A of World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The treble, which meant Ronaldo became the first man to net 10 international hat-tricks, takes his tally to 115 international goals from 182 caps as he continues to pull away as the top men's international goalscorer of all-time.

 

Victory ensures Portugal remain a point behind leaders Serbia, who moved onto 17 points with a 3-1 home win over Azerbaijan, with a game in hand and superior goal difference.

Portugal had the game all but won within the first 18 minutes.

Ronaldo struck twice from the penalty spot before his Manchester United team mate Bruno Fernandes made it three as he fired in following good work from Bernardo Silva.

The forward then missed two gilt-edged chances either side of the break as he sought a third, before being denied a spectacular hat-trick goal when Anthony Moris kept out his acrobatic overhead kick.

Portugal did not have to wait long for their fourth, however, as midfielder Joao Palhinha headed in from the resulting corner with just over 20 minutes to go.

Ronaldo was not to be denied as the hosts pushed on, netting three minutes from time with a header from close range.

Next month Fernando Santos's Portugal side travel to Ireland before then hosting Serbia in what could be a winner-takes-all fixture to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

England held 1-1 by Hungary in match marred by crowd violence

Hungary's Andras Schafer and England's Raheem Sterling in action during their match at Wembley Stadium in London

IMAGE: Hungary's Andras Schafer and England's Raheem Sterling in action during their match at Wembley Stadium in London. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

England took another, somewhat faltering, step towards 2022 World Cup qualification when they drew 1-1 with Hungary at Wembley on Tuesday and are now three points clear at the top of Group I with two matches remaining.

The game was marred by fighting in the stands between Hungary fans and baton-wielding police just after kickoff, with riot police entering the fray as visiting supporters forced stewards and police back down a tunnel.

On the pitch, the visitors went ahead with a Roland Sallai penalty in the 24th minute after England's Luke Shaw caught a stooping Loci Nego in the head as he attempted a clearance.

England equalised after 37 minutes when a Phil Foden free kick was flicked on by Tyrone Mings and the ball was turned in by John Stones from close range.

The result leaves England top of the group on 20 points ahead of Poland, who beat Albania (15 points) 1-0 away in another match hit by crowd trouble.

Euro 2020 runners-up England are still strong favourites to win the group via their remaining games against Albania and San Marino next month, but have left themselves with work to do.

Hungary, in fourth place on 11 points, need a miracle to have a chance of snatching second place and a playoff berth.

Their entire squad and staff formed a centre circle huddle at the end of the game, then stood in front of their supporters -- showing their better side after the unpleasant scenes two hours earlier -- in a joint rendition of their national anthem, celebrating together as if they had won the World Cup.

England’s players and most of the near-70,000 home fans had already gone by then but though few will long remember the match, it might prove more useful in Southgate's World Cup preparations than if it had been a routine victory.

Denmark reach World Cup with 1-0 win over Austria

Denmark's Joakim Maehle celebrates scoring their first goal with Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Daniel Wass Liselotte against Austria at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Demmark

IMAGE: Denmark's Joakim Maehle celebrates scoring their first goal with Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Daniel Wass Liselotte against Austria at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Demmark. Photograph: Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix via Reuters

Denmark became the second European nation to reach the 2022 World Cup after a 1-0 home win over Austria on Tuesday left them top of qualifying Group F with an unassailable seven-point lead over second-placed Scotland.

After Germany advanced to the 32-nation tournament in Qatar on Monday, the Danes secured their own berth with two games to spare as a 53rd-minute goal from Joakim Maehle helped them to an eighth successive qualifying victory.

Denmark and Germany joined Qatar, who gained an automatic spot in the finals as the host nation. Only the group winners from European qualifying advance directly while the runners-up enter the playoffs.

Denmark have scored 27 goals and conceded none so far in World Cup qualifying, with their run to the finals underpinned by some impressive free-flowing football.

For all their flair and attacking potential, the Danes did look jittery for long spells against a well-organised Austria side who packed their midfield to cut off the supply routes.

Visiting goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann denied Andreas Skov Olsen and Mikkel Damsgaard in the first half and then kept out a Thomas Delaney effort in the 48th minute as the home side struggled to create clear-cut chances.

But Bachmann was powerless five minutes later as Denmark's best moment of the match produced a brilliant goal with Delaney at the heart of a breathtaking move.

The central midfielder weaved his way past four markers through the middle and then teed up Maehle to plant his shot from eight metres inside the near post and delight the home fans in a packed Parken stadium.

Delaney was elated after the match as Denmark made it to their second successive World Cup, having reached the round of 16 in the 2018 tournament before advancing to the Euro 2020 semi-finals this year.

"It's a pleasure throughout, in every match," he said.

"The support we've had. It is unique, what we have created, we can be proud of."

Maehle added: "It means a lot, it's one of the coolest nights in the Park in a long time. It is fantastic. It's strong for us to win here, and we got this ticket to the World Cup."

Magic Isak inspires Sweden to 2-0 win over Greece

Sweden's Emil Forsberg celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates

IMAGE: Sweden's Emil Forsberg celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal against Greece at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph: Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency via Reuters

Alexander Isak won a penalty that was converted by Emil Forsberg before scoring himself as Sweden beat Greece 2-0 on Tuesday to move to the top of World Cup qualifying Group B on 15 points, two ahead of Spain with two games left to play.

Things did not start well for Swedes, who had the assistant referee and the woodwork to thank in the first half as an early goal by Giorgos Masouras was ruled out for offside and he also hit a post while Vangelis Pavlidis headed off the crossbar just before the break.

Isak was felled in the box by Konstantinos Mavropanos and Forsberg rattled the resulting spot kick low to the left for his second penalty in two games.

Isak added the second in the 69th minute, exploiting a hesitant Greek defence to latch onto a long ball by keeper Robin Olsen before rounding the keeper and calmly chipping the ball home.

Greece found themselves down to 10 men in the 86th minute when Pantelis Hatzidiakos was shown a second yellow card, snuffing out any chance they might have had of making a late comeback.

The Swedes are away to Georgia on Nov. 11, while the Spaniards take on Greece in Athens before the two group leaders meet three days later.

Vlahovic double helps Serbia stay ahead of Portugal

Two goals from striker Dusan Vlahovic steered Serbia to a 3-1 home win over Azerbaijan in their 2022 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday and left the Balkan nation top of Group A, a point ahead of Portugal.

Serbia have 17 points from seven games while Portugal, who thrashed Luxembourg 5-0 at home on the back of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, have 16 from six ahead of their visit to Ireland on Nov. 11.

The results left the two-team race for the group's top spot and an automatic berth in next year's tournament in Qatar set for a thrilling climax in the last round of games on Nov. 14, when Portugal are at home to Serbia.

Serbia missed several chances before Vlahovic, who scored a sublime winner in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Luxembourg, drilled in a 30th-minute penalty after he was hauled down in the area by visiting defender Hojatollah Haghverdi.

Azerbaijan equalised out of the blue with the last kick of the first half after home goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic lost possession by trying to dribble past two opponents, gifting Emin Makhmudov a simple finish into an empty net.

Vlahovic restored Serbia's advantage with a predator's goal in the 53rd minute when he stabbed in a close-range rebound after visiting keeper Shakhruddin Magomedaliyev could only parry a swerving Darko Lazovic shot.

The marauding Vlahovic, who also shaved the post in the first half, went close three times to completing a hat-trick and his efforts included a spectacular overhead kick before Dusan Tadic sealed Serbia's win with an 83rd-minute penalty.

Tadic, who came off the bench as coach Dragan Stojkovic was wary of his captain picking up a yellow card that would have ruled him out of the Portugal clash, drilled his spot-kick into the top corner after Maksim Medvedev handled in the area.

Vlahovic dismissed suggestions that Serbia would be the underdogs when they lock horns with Portugal.

"I don't see why they should be billed as favourites," he told reporters.

"The only thing we can do is leave it all out there and play our best game. Qualifying automatically would be a fantastic achievement."

Poland boost hopes with 1-0 win in Albania after crowd trouble

Albania fans fans clash with local police during the match against Poland at Arena Kombetare, Tirana, Albania

IMAGE: Albania fans fans clash with local police during the match against Poland at Arena Kombetare, Tirana, Albania. Photograph: Florion Goga/Reuters

Poland beat Albania 1-0 to reclaim second place in Group I after their World Cup qualifier was temporarily suspended when bottles were thrown on the pitch in the second half on Tuesday.

The Group I match was interrupted soon after Poland forward Karol Swiderski scored inside the box following an assist from midfielder Mateusz Klich in the 77th minute.

Albania were missing several key players, with striker Sokol Cikalleshi being the last one to withdraw from the squad with COVID-19, but they still managed to dominate the first half.

After an intense battle, and several missed chances by both sides, Poland got on top in the second period and scored through Swiderski, whose goal sparked the crowd trouble and suspension.

The game, which started at 1845 GMT, resumed at 2045 GMT.

Poland have 17 points from eight games, three points behind leaders England and two points ahead of Albania with two gaemes left. The group winners qualify for the 2022 finals in Qatar, while the second-placed team go into the playoffs.

Iran's Jahanbakhsh heads home to cancel out Son strike

Alireza Jahanbakhsh's late header cancelled out Son Heung-min's opener as Iran drew 1-1 with South Korea in Tehran on Tuesday to remain on top of Group A in the final round of Asia's preliminaries for next year's World Cup.

The Feyenoord forward powered his effort past Kim Seung-gyu 14 minutes from time after Son had put the Koreans in front three minutes into the second half.

Dragan Skocic's side move onto 10 points from their first four games in Group A and remain two points ahead of the Koreans as the pair consolidated their hold on the top two positions in the standings.

Only the first two teams in each of the two groups in the continent's qualifying competition are guaranteed to progress to the finals while the third place finishers will advance to a series of playoffs.

Iran had won all three of their matches going into the clash at the Azadi Stadium and were unfortunate not to go into halftime with a lead.

Kim twice denied the home side in quick succession as Sardar Azmoun's low shot was parried to his left by the Kashiwa Reysol goalkeeper before another fine save - this time to his right - kept out Mehdi Taremi's overhead kick.

Those interventions were to prove crucial three minutes into the second half when Son netted with a trademark finish.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward was unstoppable as he latched onto a ball from inside the centre circle by Lee Jae-sung that evaded full back Sadegh Moharrami and Son coolly stroked the ball home.

Saeed Ezatolahi hit the post from distance as Iran pushed to maintain their early dominance in Group A and, with 14 minutes remaining, Skocic's side were level.

A determined Azmoun cut a lofted ball back from the bye-line and Alireza Jahanbakhsh powered his downward header beyond the outstretched arms of Kim.

Taremi then hit the post from distance with an unstoppable drive while substitute Na Sang-ho was denied a dramatic winner by Alireza Beiranvand deep into stoppage time.

 Lebanon is third with five points after a 3-2 win over Syria. In a meeting of Dutch coaches, Bert van Marwijk's United Arab Emirates lineup was held to a 2-2 draw by Dick Advocaat's Iraq in Dubai, a result that leaves both teams on three points, two ahead of Syria.

Late own goal ends Australia's record run and hands Japan much-needed win

Australia's record-breaking run in World Cup qualifying ended on Tuesday when Aziz Behich's late own goal handed Japan a lifeline as the Samurai Blue earned a 2-1 victory at Saitama Stadium.

Behich bundled the ball over his own goal line after Takuma Asano's late shot looped up and hit the post, ensuring Australia missed out on a 12th straight win on the road to Qatar 2022.

Ao Tanaka had given Japan the lead in the ninth minute as the home side sought to pick up only their second victory after four games in the final phase of the continent's qualifying campaign, a run that put coach Hajime Moriyasu under pressure.

The result moves third-placed Japan to within three points of the Socceroos, who lead Group B ahead of Saudi Arabia -- also on nine points but with a game in hand - in the battle for two guaranteed places from the section at next year's World Cup.

Saudi Arabia beat fifth-place China 3-2 in Jeddah to record a fourth straight win and go three points clear at the top. In the group's other game, Oman rallied to beat Vietnam 3-1 and go third, above Japan by virtue of scoring more goals.

Australia and Saudi Arabia will meet on November 11, when Japan is away at Vietnam.

Tanaka was called up in place of Gaku Shibasaki and the midfielder impressed, striking across goalkeeper Mat Ryan to give the Japanese the lead.

But Ajdin Hrustic levelled the scores 20 minute from time with a curling free kick that went in off the underside of Shuichi Gonda's crossbar after VAR had overturned a decision to award the Australians a penalty.

The Japanese, who have qualified for every World Cup since 1998, were under huge pressure going into the game having won only one of their previous matches in the final phase of Asia's preliminaries.

Moriyasu rung the changes, dropping Shibasaki - who was responsible for the goal Japan conceded against Saudi Arabia last week -- and replacing him with the more dynamic Tanaka.

The change paid off in the ninth minute as Tanaka was found with time and space in the penalty area by Takumi Minamino, and the midfielder scored with a low shot past Ryan.

Japan had the opportunities to add to their tally with Junya Ito and Yuya Osako both missing the target, and they were to rue not taking those chances in the second half.

Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic went close before Hrustic was brought down on the edge of the area by Hidemasa Morita and, after referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim had initially awarded a penalty, VAR overturned the decision and gave a free kick.

It mattered little as Hrustic struck in style before Ryan kept a determined Japan at bay until Behich's own goal.

Only the top two teams in each of Asia's two qualifying groups advance automatically to the finals, with the third-placed teams going into a series of playoffs.

Senegal, Morocco secure top spots in World Cup qualifying groups

Senegal's Famara Diedhiou scored a hat-trick on Tuesday to propel his country into the final phase of African World Cup qualifying followed later in the day by Morocco who also guaranteed top spot in their group with two games to play.

Diedhiou, who left English second-tier club Bristol City for Turkey at the start of the season, headed Senegal ahead after 22 minutes against Namibia in Johannesburg and added two more goals in the second half for a 3-1 victory.

The win gave Senegal an unassailable lead in Group H, with a 100% record after four games and two to play in November. The match was played in South Africa due to refurbishment work at Namibia's home stadium.

Morocco then beat Guinea 4-1 in Rabat to ensure they finish top of Group I and will be one of the 10 group winners competing in the playoffs in March for five African places at the World Cup finals in Qatar.

Selim Amallah scored twice for Morocco after Ayoub El Kaabi gave them an early lead as they also kept up a 100% record. Sofiane Boufal scored the fourth for the north African side in the last minute.

An 11th minute own goal handed South Africa a narrow 1-0 home win over Ethiopia in Group G, where they have a one-point lead over Ghana, who earlier won away in Zimbabwe.

Ethiopia captain Getaneh Kebede miscued an attempted clearance at a corner and sliced the ball into his own net at Soccer City in Johannesburg, where 2,000 spectators were allowed to watch the game. They were the first fans at any South African sporting event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Africa are now on 10 points with Ghana one behind after Thomas Partey hammered home a thunderous free kick to secure a 1-0 victory against Zimbabwe in Harare.

South Africa travel to Ghana for their last qualifier next month.

Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring as Algeria reclaimed top place in Group A by beating Niger 4-0 away in Niamey.

The African champions lead Burkina Faso on goal difference, with the two countries set for a showdown next month.

Mahrez's 20th minute strike was followed by goals from Aissa Mandi, Ismael Bennacer and Baghdad Bounedjah.

The last two rounds of the group phase of African qualifiers will be played between November 10-16.

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