Cristiano Ronaldo scored four on his Portugal return in a 6-0 World Cup qualifying victory over nine-man Andorra at the Estadio Municipal de Aveiro.
In his first international appearance since limping off in the Euro 2016 final win over France, Ronaldo helped soften the blow of Portugal’s opening-game 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in Group B.
The Real Madrid star, back from a knee injury, led by example on Friday as the captain netted twice in the opening three minutes to leave Andorra reeling.
Koldo Alvarez’s men, who only lost their group opener 1-0 to Latvia, sometimes resorted to heavy-handed tactics in a bid to limit Portugal’s dominance, but it had little impact.
Joao Cancelo’s deft finish extended the hosts’ advantage on the stroke of the interval, with Ronaldo securing the match ball at the start of the second half.
The visitors’ night got worse when Jordi Rubio was dismissed for a second booking and Ronaldo scored again to take his international goal tally to 65, while Marc Rebes followed his team-mate down the tunnel soon after to compound their woes.
Andre Silva’s maiden international goal completed the scoring late on and Portugal will now turn their attention to Monday’s trip to take on Faroe Islands.
The opener came in the second minute as Ronaldo volleyed home from inside the box after goalkeeper Josep Gomes flapped at a corner.
He headed in a second from Ricardo Quaresma’s searching cross two minutes later to set the tone for the evening.
The Real Madrid star squandered a hat-trick opportunity with a wayward 15th-minute header as Portugal continued to dominate.
Josep Gomes had to produce a sensational save to deny Jose Fonte after the Southampton defender planted a firm headed attempt on target from six yards.
Ronaldo then struck the post with yet another headed opportunity just past the half-hour mark, while Andre Gomes nodded onto the top of the crossbar from close range soon after.
But Andorra’s hopes of avoiding further punishment before the break were dashed when Cancelo scored his second goal in as many caps, darting into the six-yard box and finding a way past Josep Gomes from an acute angle.
Fernando Santos’ side refused to ease off, scoring two minutes into the second half as Ronaldo drove in his third from Andre Gomes’ cutback.
Rubio’s blatant foul on Ronaldo saw his night come to a premature end with 30 minutes still left to play and Portugal’s number seven fired in his fourth – the first time he has achieved the feat for his country – in the 68th minute, before being hacked down by Rebes as the midfielder saw red.
Silva spurned two excellent opportunities to add a sixth before finally doing so four minutes from time, prodding in after Quaresma’s free-kick was fumbled to his feet.
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