Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to lead Portugal to a 4-1 win at home overLatvia in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group B on Sunday.
The Real Madrid star opened the scoring with a penalty in the 28th minute after Latvia’s Gints Freimanis brought down Nani in the box following a one-two with Ronaldo.
Ronaldo should have doubled Portugal’s lead but hit the post with a second penalty before the hour mark, and Latvia equalised against the run of play soon after, Arturs Zjuzins lashing home after Jose Fonte had blocked Artjoms Rudnevs’ shot.
But the visitors’ joy lasted less than three minutes as William Carvalho restored Portugal’s lead with a close-range header, and Ronaldo did find his second with five minutes to play with a well-taken volley.
Ronaldo twice came close to completing his hat trick in the late stages, but when Portugal’s fourth did come it was Bruno Alves heading home Raphael Guerreiro’s cross in stoppage time.
Portugal remain three points back of Switzerland, who continued their perfect run in qualifying with a 2-0 defeat of Faroe Islands.
Eren Derdiyok put the Swiss ahead with a powerful effort in the 26th minute. The Galatasaray forward calmly settled Valon Behrami’s lobbed pass on the left of the box and fired his low shot past Gunnar Nielsen for a 1-0 lead.
Stephan Lichtsteiner then wrapped up the points seven minutes from time with a fine downward header of a whipped in cross from Ricardo Rodríguez.
The win keeps Switzerland atop the Group B table with 12 points from four matches.
Dries Mertens scored twice and helped create two more goals as Belgiumthrashed Estonia 8-1 to stay perfect atop Group H.
Thomas Meunier put Belgium ahead in the eighth minute in Brussels by heading in Yannick Carrasco’s cross, and eight minutes later Mertens found his first of the night with a deflected shot from the top of the box.
The rout was on when Eden Hazard ran onto Mertens’ through ball in the 25th minute, though Estonia were able to pull a goal back through Henri Anier on the half-hour mark.
But Carrasco had plenty of space in the box to score Belgium’s fourth in the 62nd minute, and two minutes later Mertens’ cross deflected in off of Liverpool’s Ragnar Klavan for an own goal.
Mertens did get credit for his second on 68 minutes by calmly chipping the keeper from 15 yards, and Romelu Lukaku scored a late brace of his own to cap the scoring.
Greece are two points behind Belgium after Giorgos Tzavellas’ goal deep into stoppage time secured a 1-1 draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Miralem Pjanic delivered a stunning free kick in the 32nd minute to put the visitors ahead, though it went down as an own goal after hitting off the post and then the back of goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis before crossing the line.
Greece’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko were both sent off after clashing with 10 minutes to play. Dzeko fell down over the ball and — taking objection to Sokratis Papastathopoulos standing over him — pulled the defender’s shorts down to his knees to earn a second booking. Papadopoulos was apparently sent off for his reaction after the incident.
That set up a dramatic finish that saw Tzavellas deliver a first-timed strike from the top of the box in the 95th minute to equalise.
A Memphis Depay double nudged the Netherlands to a 3-1 victory at Luxembourg in Group A.
Arjen Robben put the Netherlands in front after 36 minutes — the Bayern Munich man latching onto a Georginio Wijnaldum pass on the right wing, cutting onto his favoured left foot and firing low and hard past Ralph Schon in the Luxembourg goal.
Undaunted, the hosts struck back just before the break with a goal of their own — Maxine Chanot sending Maarten Stekelenburg the other way from the penalty spot after Joshua Brenet had fouled Daniel Alves Da Mota in the box.
However, second-half substitute Memphis Depay restored the Dutch advantage just minutes after coming on with a powerful header of a Daley Blind cross in the 58th.
And it was Depay who added the third — and his second of the day — six minutes before the whistle to seal the points. The Manchester United man curled his free kick over the wall and past Schon at the near post after Chanot had fouled Virgil van Dijk a few yards outside the box.
The win moves the Netherlands into second place in Group A, three points behind leaders France after four rounds.
Also in Group A, Bulgaria edged past Belarus 1-0 in Sofia.
Ivelin Popov got the Bulgarians the points in the 10th minute, heading home Spas Delev’s perfect cross after the pacy midfielder was sprung by a perfectly-weighted through ball down the right side.
In an earlier Group H game, Cyprus cruised past 10-man Gibraltar 3-1 in Strovolos.
Laifis Konstantinos gave the home side a 28th-minute lead with a close-range finish after Demetris Christofi’s free kick was partially blocked by the defensive wall.
Gibraltar evened the score just after the break through Lee Casciaro, but Cyprus went up for good in the 65th minute, when Pieros Soteriou settled Demetris Christofi’s low cross and struck from close range.
And Valentinos Sielis tacked on a third just before the final whistle after Jayce Mascarenhas-Olivero had been sent off just minutes before.
In the other game in Portugal and Switzerland’s Group B, Hungary thrashedAndorra 4-0.
Zoltan Gera and Adam Lang scored within 10 minutes of each other to give the Hungarians a comfortable first-half lead — Gera cleaning up a spilled Jose Antonio Gomes catch in front of goal on 33 minutes and Lang sweeping home at the far post after a fine low cross.
Adam Gyurcso added a third on 73 minutes — his outside-of-the boot finish to the far post beating a spread Gomez — to make it an easy night for Hungary before Adam Szalai tacked on another just before time.
Culled from ESPNFC