Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo another from André Silva gave an impressive Portugal a 3-0 victory over Hungary in the World Cup Qualifying match at a rain-soaked Estádio do SL Benfica in Lisbon.
Employing a three-man central defence, Bernd Storck gave Paulo Vinicius his debut, the Videoton defender slotting in alongside Ádám Lang Tamás Kádár. Hungary started the first half well, limiting Portugal to a solitary goal-scoring opportunity in the first thirty minutes; Cristiano Ronaldo heading a Ricardo Quaresma cross just wide of goal when unmarked at the edge of the six yard box.
Two goals in quick succession would put Portugal firmly in the driving seat thereafter though, and Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in both. The first came on 32 minutes when he found Raphaël Guerreiro in space on the left, the left-back playing a perfectly weighted low ball across the face of goal which gave André Silva the simplest of tasks of slotting past Péter Gulácsi from close-range. Five minutes later it was two; the Hungary defence failing to deal with a long ball, and Andre Silva cushioning the ball into the path of Cristiano Ronaldo who fired a fierce low drive past Gulácsi into the corner of the net.
Hungary reverted to a four-man defence after the break with Gergő Lovrencsics replacing Ádám Lang, but Portugal continued to look by far the more dangerous. Indeed, the match was over as a contest by the 65th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second of night. 25 yards out on the left, he fired his direct free-kick in off the post past Gulácsi, the 3-3 thriller in Lyon last summer becoming an ever-more distant memory.
Threatening the Portugal rearguard only sporadically, the closest Hungary came to scoring was when Balázs Dzsudzsák attempted to surprise Rui Patrício with a long-range effort midway through the second period, and then late on when Ádám Pintér fired over after Lovrencsics and Ádám Szalai had combined to tee him up. The result sees Portugal move up to twelve points, three behind group leaders Switzerland and five ahead of Hungary, whose next match is a trip to Andorra in June.
Portugal 3-0 Hungary (2-0)
Hungary: Péter Gulácsi – Barnabás Bese, Ádám Lang (Gergő Lovrencsics 46’), Paulo Vinicius, Tamás Kádár, Mihály Korhut – Ádám Nagy – Ádám Gyurcsó (Zsolt Kalmár 69’), Zoltán Gera (Ádám Pintér 85’), Balázs Dzsudzsák – Ádám Szalai. Head coach: Bernd Storck
Portugal: Rui Patrício – Cédric, Pepe, José Fonte, Raphaël Guerreiro – João Mário (João Moutinho 83’), William Carvalho, André Gomes (Pizzi 86’) – Ricardo Quaresma, André Silva (Bernardo Silva 67’), Cristiano Ronaldo. Head coach: Fernando Santos
Goalscorers: André Silva (32’), Cristiano Ronaldo (36’, 65’)
via mlsz.hu and uefa.com; photos: Tibor Illyés – MTI