Faro: Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick helped Portugal beat Luxembourg 5-0 in the World Cup Group A qualifiers on Tuesday.
The hat-trick, which means Ronaldo became the first player to score 10 international hat-tricks, takes his tally to 115 international goals from 182 caps as he continues to retire as the all-time men’s international goalscorer.
The win ensures that Portugal stays one point behind leaders Serbia, who advanced to 17 with a 3-1 home win over Azerbaijan, with a game in hand and an advantaged goal difference.
Portugal had won the whole match in the first 18 minutes.
Ronaldo scored two goals from a penalty kick before his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes added the third goal to lead after good work from Bernardo Silva.
The striker then missed two stunning chances on either side of the first half as he sought the third goal, before being denied a stunning hat-trick when Anthony Morris parried his overhead acrobatic kick.
Portugal didn’t have to wait long for fourth, but midfielder Joao Balenha scored from the resulting corner just 20 minutes before the end of the match.
Ronaldo was not denied because the hosts pressed, scoring three minutes before the end of the match with a header from close range.
Next month, Portugal’s national side, led by Fernando Santos, travels to Ireland before hosting Serbia in a match where the winner could have everything to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.