Ronaldo finds his magic to get Portugal through with Hungary draw
(Zoltan Gera 19 Balazs Dzsudzsak 47, 55)
(Luis Nani 42, Cristiano Ronaldo 50, 62)
If ever Cristiano Ronaldo found the captain's armband stifling, this was the day.
As Portugal surprisingly laboured to draws in their opening two Euro 2016 matches, the Portuguese ace bore the brunt of the criticism.
But at the Stade de Lyon on Thursday morning (June 23, Singapore time), Ronaldo suddenly got into the mood.
One assist and two goals by him did the trick, as Portugal fought back from going behind thrice to draw 3-3 with Hungary.
The result saw them finish third in Group F to narrowly clinch a spot in the Round of 16 as one of the tournament's four best third-placed teams.
He is back in the groove, although it didn't looked like it was shaping up to be a memorable day for him.
Stress was beginning to tell on the pitch, and off it.
Before the crunch match with Hungary, Ronaldo snatched a microphone from a Portuguese journalist and threw it into an adjacent lake when asked if he was prepared.
Things certainly looked like they were going pear-shaped for them when Hungary took the lead.
Zoltan Gera, the former Fulham and West Bromwich Albion midfielder, smashed in the opening goal from outside the penalty box in the 19th minute after a corner kick was only half-cleared.
Just when it seemed Portugal would go into the break 1-0 down, Ronaldo rediscovered his long-missing Midas touch.
Sensing the opposing defenders drifting out of position, he sliced them apart with a beautifully weighted through-ball for Nani to fire a shot in at the near post three minutes before half-time.
The dramatic end to the first period was only a teaser.
Just two minutes into the second half, Balazs Dzsudzsak blasted a deflected free-kick into the net to restore Hungary's lead.
But didn't last long.
Ronaldo's equaliser came just three minutes later. Joao Mario was the provider, supplying the cross from the right flank for him to execute a beautiful flick to make it 2-2.
In the 55th minute, Dzsudzsak put Hungary back ahead with another deflected shot, just outside of the box.
But Ronaldo wasn't done yet as a thumping 62nd-minute header made it 3-3 as he almost single-handedly dragged his team out from disaster.
In the end, Portugal made it through to the knockout phase, but only just.
Fortunately for them, Ronaldo stirred to life just in time as the Portuguese miraculously find themselves in the next round without a win under their belt.
Croatia, conquerors of Spain, are next.
Portugal will keep their fingers crossed that Ronaldo's sizzling form doesn't end here.