Football

Santos stands by Ronaldo

GROUP F

HUNGARY v PORTUGAL

(Tonight, 11.55pm, Singtel TV Ch 142 & 
StarHub TV Ch 220 - Eleven EURO)

Portugal coach Fernando Santos is backing misfiring Cristiano Ronaldo to break his Euro 2016 duck by netting against Hungary tonight and help fire his side into the last 16.

Ronaldo (below) is still waiting for his opening goal in France to become the first person to score at four consecutive European Championship finals.

The 31-year-old is the holder of numerous goal-scoring records, but he has yet to hit the net at Euro 2016, despite having 20 chances.

Ronaldo set a new Portuguese record with his 128th international cap in last Saturday's goalless draw with Austria - a milestone overshadowed by his penalty miss.

He also failed to score in the 1-1 draw with Iceland last week.

This has been a frustrating tournament for Ronaldo. And his Portugal side have failed to live up to their pre-tournament billing as Group F favourites.

They lie third behind Iceland and Hungary, who they must beat in Lyon to be sure of reaching the last 16.

"Ronaldo is a player who scores a lot of goals and I'm sure he will score in the next game against Hungary," said Santos.

Portugal had 23 shots against Austria - hitting the woodwork twice - and Santos expects his side to find the net and win "ugly" if need be.

"It was the first time we failed to score during my reign," said Santos.

"We're sad, but we have things in our own hands. It doesn't matter if we play better or ugly football."

Off the field, the Hungarians need to watch their step. Uefa was set to announce its punishment yesterday after crowd trouble in the 1-1 draw with Iceland.

In Marseille, Hungarian fans clashed with stewards in the Stade Velodrome and set off flares.

Their captain, Balazs Dzsudzsak wants to see the same passion against Portugal, just not the trouble.

"I ask that everyone continues to support us, but in a way which does not give reason for any possible punishment," he said.

- AFP.

FootballEuro 2016europecristiano ronaldo