Portugal comfortably beat Hungary 3-0 in a 2018 World Cup Qualifier match at the Estadio da Luz to move them within three points of Switzerland at the top of the group.
The Swiss had previously beat Latvia 1-0 and Fernando Sanchez’s men headed into the game six points behind the leaders knowing that nothing less than a victory would do in order to keep the pressure on.
The European champions were strong favourites to beat Hungary, largely due to the fact they were on a run of 14 games unbeaten at home but they needed to find a win without influential attacker Nani who was missing due to injury.
Hungary looked promising in the opening stages
Surprisingly, it was the visitors who made the more assured start and were passing the ball round with confidence in the beginning.
Hungary were doing well to prevent Portugal from seeing much of the ball and limited them to one 25-yard strike from Ronaldo in the first 10 minutes. The ball fell to the Real Madrid star after a flick from Carvalho but he lashed high and wide into the stands.
Neither side were creating any clear cut opportunities and the away team were happy to sit back when not in possession of the ball and invite pressure from Portugal.
The home side were finding it hard to penetrate their oppositions defence, led by the Brazilian-born Vinicius who was making an impressive debut in his first 30 minutes and didn’t look out of place in the back-line.
Portugal then started to play after 30 minutes
However, Portugal were starting to turn the screw and a miss-shot by Quaresma on the left hand flank turned into a great cross for Ronaldo. The striker found himself free six yards out at the back post but managed to direct his header wide of the target back across goal.
After 32 minutes, Hungary could count themselves unlucky they went behind by a goal from Andre Silva who was on hand to score his fifth goal in six games for Portugal.
Guerreiro found himself in acres of space down the left hand channel and crossed a low ball to the back post at Silva who finished coolly from five yards out.
It was a sign of things to come from Portgual’s front two strikers as it was Ronaldo’s abilty to drop deep and pick up the ball that made the defence track him and subsequently allowed Silva so much space in the box to score.
Ronaldo and Silva were working together majestically and a long ball from Pepe was flicked beautifully by the Barcelona man into Ronaldo’s path who let fly from 25-yards with his left foot, through the legs of Bese and into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 2-0.
Portugal were really starting to crank the pressure up and pen Hungary into their own half. Due to the fact Bernd Storck’s men only had one striker up front, they were resigned to trying to pass the ball out from the back which inevitably invited pressure when they lost the possession.
Ronaldo ensured it was game over after 65 minutes as he whipped in a free kick from the left-hand side of the penalty area over the top of the wall and into the far corner.
It was clever from Pepe and Gomez who made themselves a nuisance in the wall before finally breaking off when Ronaldo struck the free kick. Gulacsi also made the mistake by stepping first and guessing which way the free-kick expert was going to go.
It was exhibition stuff from Portugal in the final stages
The rest of the game was played with the home side toying with Hungary and trying to entertain the crowd who were hungry for more goals that, sadly for them, did not come.
In the end, Portugal had too much for a Hungary side that, despite a promising start, failed to cope with the European champions best players as they oversaw a comfortable victory.
PORTUGAL:Patricio 6 – Cedric 7, Pepe 7, Fonte 6.5, Guerreiro 6.5 – Quaresma 7.5, Carvalho 7.5, Gomes 7 (Pizzi 6) Joao Mario 7 (Joao Moutinho 6) – Ronaldo 8.5, Andre Silva 8 (Bernardo Silva 6).
Unused sub: Alves, Nelsinho, Eder, Bruno Varela, Danilo Pereira, Renato Sanches
HUNGARY: Gulacsi 5 – Lang 5 (Lovrencsics 5), Vinicius 6 ,Kadar 5 ,Korhut 5– Gera 6 (Pinter 4), Bese 5 – Dzsudzsak 5, Nagy 5, Gyurcso 5 (Kalmar 5) –Szalai 4.5.
Unused subs: Adorjan, Eppel, Dibusz, Holman, Priskin, Sallai, Megyeri, Hangya
Referee: Szymon Marciniak
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