Portugal laboured to a 3-1 win over Luxembourg in their 3rd European World Cup 2022 qualifier. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 103rd goal for Portugal to end his 4 match goal drought for the national side.
Goals from Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Palninha helped Portugal secure victory after their 2-2 draw against Serbia in the previous qualifying encounter. The win puts Portugal in the first position in Group A ahead of Serbia on goal-difference.
Portugal are top of Group A, ahead of Serbia on goal-difference
Portugal coach Fernando Santos made a number of changes to the starting line-up bringing in Renato Sanchez, Neves, Nuno Mendes and Joao Felix. However despite enjoying more of the possession in the first half, Portugal failed to create clear cut goal scoring chances as Luxembourg sat back and played on the counter.
Luxembourg’s strategy bore them fruits as Gerson Rodrigues’ header gave them a shock lead in the 34th minute. The striker diverted a superb cross from Sinani to give them a 1-0 cushion. Portugal were slow and failed to make things happen in the attacking third.
Diogo Jota saved Portugal yet again scoring his 3rd goal in the last 2 matches to bring them level right on the edge of half-time. Jota received a pin-point cross from substitute Pedro Neto to bring Portugal back into the tie.
Cristiano Ronaldo ultimately ended his 4 match goal drought and gave Portugal the lead for the first time in this match. Ronaldo started the move and ended it himself scoring from a clever finish as Cancelo dug in a perfect cross from the right hand side.
Jota and Ronaldo both failed to increase Portugal’s lead as Luxembourg brought players forward and created gaps at the back. Ronaldo was denied twice by goalkeeper Moris when he found himself 1v1 with the keeper.
Joao Palninha scored his first goal in Portugal colours after coming on as a 2nd-half subsitute to put the match beyond Luxembourg’s reach. His header from a Pedro Neto corner found the back of the net in the 80th minute.