Wed, December 01, 2021


History-making Ronaldo at the double after Portugal make hard work of Hungary

History-making Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal produced a late show to kick off the defense of their European Championship title with a 3-0 win against Hungary in Budapest.

The game looked to be heading for a draw as the Portuguese struggled to break down a dogged Hungarian defense but after Rafael Guerreiro opened the scoring in the 84th minute, Ronaldo was able to assure the win with two further goals.

As expected, the pre-game attention was on the Juventus forward, who became the first player in history to dispute five European Championship final phases, but Portugal fielded a wealth of attacking talent with Diogo Jota, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes also in the starting 11.

The Hungarian plan was clearly one of containment with five men strung across the back behind a three-man midfield, but even so the Portuguese created plenty of chances in the first half.

Hungarian keeper, Peter Gulacsi was his side's hero with saves from Jota and Pepe and although the home side were putting in some meaty challenges, Portugal were still creating chances, with Gulacsi next denying Ronaldo and Jota as the game was played in the Hungarian half.

Ronaldo wasted the best chance of the game just before halftime, inexplicably firing over the bar from five meters after a low cross from Fernandes.

At the other end Hungary's only chance was a header from big striker Adam Szalai following a free kick.

Although the second half kicked off with Gulacsi at full stretch again to parry Ronaldo's header from another Portuguese corner, Portugal found it increasingly difficult to find space among the massed ranks of Hungarian defenders until Fernandes tried his luck from distance in the 67th minute only for the keeper to respond once again.

With the Portuguese being drawn forward, Hungary worked a break in the 72nd minute forcing Rui Patricio to scramble the ball clear from Szalai.

Another break saw Hungary substitute Szabolcs Schon have the ball in the Portuguese net after cutting inside and firing home a left foot shot only for the flag to go up for offside and minutes later Rafael Guerreiro scored the first of the game.

The ball was worked out right and the full back had a big stroke of luck as his shot took a big deflection to wrong-foot Gulacsi in the 84th minute.

Hungary had looked comfortable before the goal, but two minutes later they were 2-0 down when Rafa Silva was bundled over in the area, with Ronaldo decisively scoring the penalty and there was still time for him to net his second of the game by finishing off a team move to round Gulacsi and make it 3-0, which had looked unlikely just eight minutes earlier.

Published : June 16, 2021

By : xinhua