Football

Two-goal Ronaldo praises young Portugal after Hungary win

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two stunning goals that took his international tally to 70 in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Hungary yesterday morning (Singapore time).

But the Portugal captain insisted that his goal tally is not important as he ensured there was no repeat of the near upset by the same opponents at Euro 2016.

Then, on the brink of a group-stage exit, Portugal came back three times to force a 3-3 draw - thanks also to another Ronaldo brace - paving the way for their stunning title triumph.

"I know how many goals I have, but that's not the most important thing," he told RTP yesterday.

"What matters is that we won and we're in the fight to go to the World Cup.

"We started out timid. We were slow to react to their tactics, but everything changed with the first goal.

"The team played better, more confidently, and the goals came naturally.

"The team are good. We have a lot of young players."

Besides Ronaldo, forward Ricardo Quaresma and centre backs Jose Fonte and Pepe, most of the other starters are below 25 years of age.

Portugal went ahead in the 32nd minute when Ronaldo released Raphael Guerreiro on the left and his low, first-time cross was turned in at the far post by an unmarked Andre Silva.

Four minutes later, Pepe's long ball out of defence was met by 21-year-old Silva with a first-time backheel to Ronaldo, who squeezed in a left-footer from 25 metres with stunning precision.

In the 65th minute, Ronaldo scored his second from a free-kick outside the area for his 70th goal in 138 appearances. - WIRE SERVICES


OTHER GROUP B RESULTS

  • Switzerland 1 Latvia 0
  • Andorra 0 Faroe Islands 0
World Cupcristiano ronaldo