Record scorer Ronaldo helps Portugal pip Armenia
Friday, November 14, 2014
Portugal 1-0 Armenia
Cristiano Ronaldo got the only goal of the game to secure the win for the hosts and become the competition's all-time top scorer.
Article top media content
• Cristiano Ronaldo forces in only goal of game to secure home win
• Portugal captain becomes competition's all-time top scorer, qualifying and finals combined
• Danny and Eder hit woodwork for hosts who toil for longs spells
• Armenia remain without win; Portugal up to second in Group I
• Next games: Portugal v Serbia, Albania v Armenia (29 March)
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo became the competition's all-time top scorer as he got the only goal of the Group I game to see off a resolute Armenia in Faro-Loule.
Having lost their previous home encounter in the section – against Albania on matchday one – the hosts looked determined to prevent a similar situation arising but struggled to find the final touch. Hélder Postiga and Danny got in the other's way as they both went after a dropping ball in the visiting area before Tiago headed a Nani free-kick just over.
Danny's shot from the edge of the box was straight at goalkeeper Roman Berezovski who then excellently denied Ronaldo before the No7 lashed the rebound a fraction wide. The Portuguese had the better of the first period but Armenia were not entirely subdued; Henrikh Mkhitaryan's free-kick almost deflected past Rui Patrício who then repelled Kamo Hovhannisyan's stinging effort after the midfielder was released into the area.
The pattern of Portugal forcing the pace and Armenia hitting on the counter continued in the second half, and it was Danny who went the closest to breaking the deadlock as he looped a header onto the crossbar with Berezovski beaten, though Taron Voskanyan wasted an outstanding opening with his head at the other end.
Portugal toiled as did their talisman Ronaldo, but he eventually came good and won it on 72 minutes. It was the scrappiest of goals as Ricardo Quaresma's attempt was saved before the rebound was scuffed back into the box where the skipper – almost on the goal line – needed two swipes at the ball to put it in. It was far from the Real Madrid CF man's best, but enough to make him the UEFA European Championship's leading scorer – qualifying and finals combined – as well as netting three vital points which take Fernando Santos's team second in the section.