Portugal beat Luxembourg 5-0 in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier to take a giant step towards the Qatar showpiece. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick, while Bruno Fernando and Joao Palhinha scored once apiece to give the Selecao a huge win.
Back-to-back penalties in the eighth and 13th minutes appeared to have ended the match as a contest, with Ronaldo clinically dispatching both. His clubmate Bruno Fernandes joined the party soon after to put the game well out of the visitors’ reach.
Despite keeping the lion’s share of possession and creating a plethora of chances, the 2016 European champions had to wait until the 69th minute for their next goal. That duly arrived when Palhinha leapt highest to meet a corner from Fernandes after Anthony Moris had parried Ronaldo’s spectacular overhead kick.
However, the 36-year-old was not to be denied. He got his treble a quarter of an hour later with a header from close-range, bringing his international tally to 115 goals.
Luxembourg, ranked 87 places below their mighty hosts, were no match for Portugal, as they endured a resounding defeat. They remain in third place, though, with six points.
Portugal, meanwhile, are second to Serbia with a game in hand. The Selecao will now look to finalise their place in next year’s competition during November’s double-header against Ireland and Serbia. On that note, here are the player ratings for Portugal:
Rui Patricio – 7/10
With the away side mustering just a single effort on target, it’s safe to say the Portugal custodian had an easy outing. He bagged another clean sheet in the bag as well.
Joao Cancelo – 8/10
Cancelo fought hard to win back possession, driving forward using his precocious dribbling skills. He completed five of his six attempts too.
Pepe – 7.5./10
Portugal’s veteran centre-back was at his usual best on the night. He kept everything tidy in defence, and hooked the ball out of tight spaces whenever Luxembourg came forward.
Ruben Dias – 7.5/10
He worked brilliantly with Pepe at the heart of Portugal’s defence, and could’ve had a goal in the first half. However, his header was directed straight at Moris.
Nuno Mendes – 7/10
He kept Rodrigues in check on the break, but went into the referee’s books for a silly challenge. Mendes is now suspended from Portugal’s clash with Ireland next month.
Bruno Fernandes – 7.5/10
Fernandes joined the act quickly after Ronaldo’s penalty double with a composed finish from a tight angle that essentially put the game to bed. He tried to bag a few more, but things didn’t quite work out for him again. He did bagged an assist for Palhinha, though.
Joao Palhinha – 7.5/10
The 26-year-old was tidy in possession, and showed excellent distribution skills too. He capped off a fine performance with a goal, and followed that up with a Ronaldo-esque ‘Siu’ celebration.
Joao Moutinho – 7.5/10
He got forward a lot, and added plenty of threat to Portugal’s attack, bagging three key passes in the process.
Bernardo Silva – 8/10
The Manchester City winger was sensational during the game’s opening exchanges, winning the first penalty before assisting Fernandes. He was unstoppable down the right wing, but his form tapered off in the second half. He had a bicycle kick saved by the Luxembourg goalkeeper.
Andre Silva – 6/10
He saw a good header saved by Moris after it was fired straight at him. Unfortunately, that was as close as the RB Leipzig forward would come to scoring for again for Portugal in the match.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.5/10
He set Portugal on their way with a quickfire penalty double in the first half before being denied a spectacular third by Moris late on. Yet the record goalscorer found redemption in the 86th minute, bagging his tenth international hat-trick.
Ratings of Portugal substitutes against Luxembourg
Ruben Neves – 7/10
He assisted Ronaldo’s hat-trick goal with a sublime free-kick into the area.
Joao Mario – 7/10
Mario replaced his namesake Moutinho, and continued from where the Wolves man had left off, making excellent passing throughout.
Matheus Nunes – 6/10
His passing was first-class, but it was a case of too little too late.
Goncalo Guedes – 6/10
The striker came on to fire up Portugal’s attack and possibly bag a goal or two. But he was totally anonymous on the night.
Raphael Leao – 6/10
He got involved in the proceedings seamlessly, but his passing on the break on one occasion was particularly poor.