Portugal cruised to their first victory in UEFA Nations League Group A2 as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-0 home defeat of Switzerland.
Ronaldo proved instrumental as the hosts swept their opponents aside with an impressive first-half display in Lisbon. The Portugal captain – who struck a hat-trick when these sides last met three years ago today – had not registered in five outings for his country coming into this match, his longest drought for the Seleção for ten years.
William Carvalho struck the opener for PortugalGetty Images
It was a free-kick from the former Sporting CP man that led to Portugal’s opener, with his low effort parried by goalkeeper Gregor Kobel into the path of William Carvalho, who tapped home.
Ronaldo then took his international tally to 117 goals with two strikes in the space of five minutes with half-time approaching, sweeping his team’s second into the far corner after unselfishly being picked out by Diogo Jota.
Shortly after, that pair combined again, with Kobel unable to hold the Liverpool striker’s shot and Ronaldo nabbing the rebound. The 37-year-old could have claimed another match ball in the 43rd minute but prodded João Cancelo’s intelligent cross narrowly wide.
João Cancelo enjoys his goalGetty Images
In the end, it was the Manchester City full-back who rounded off the scoring, tapping the ball past the onrushing Kobel and slotting into the empty net after good work from club-mate Bernardo Silva.
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: “I am a coach who is satisfied when I win and when the team plays as we rehearsed. We could have scored one or two more in the first half. In the second half, the pace dropped; the players are not machines. Switzerland created some problems, but we always found the right solutions.”
Rúben Neves, Portugal midfielder: “We scored a lot of goals, created a lot of chances, played good football. There are always things to improve. That’s what we’re going to focus on, but I think it was an excellent performance.”
Granit Xhaka, Switzerland captain: “We started well and then we lost the game within five minutes. As an away team, we let ourselves be countered – that mustn’t happen. We were lucky in the first half that Portugal didn’t score two or three more goals.”
Gregor Kobel, Switzerland goalkeeper: “The alarm bells are ringing very loudly after a game like this. From the 15th minute, it was a poor game from us. We conceded silly goals.”