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Ronaldo leads Portugal charge in Cyprus

Cyprus 0-4 Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and set up a third as his team maintained their position as joint leaders in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group H.

Cristiano Ronaldo receives congratulations after burying his penalty in Cyprus
Cristiano Ronaldo receives congratulations after burying his penalty in Cyprus ©Getty Images

Portugal remain joint leaders in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group H after putting four goals past ten-man Cyprus without reply in Nicosia.

The hosts held Portugal to a spectacular 4-4 draw in Guimaraes at the start of their campaign last September, but there was to be no repeat after they lost Sinisa Dobrasinovic to a red card for handball in the area after 34 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo converted the resultant penalty and, although Cyprus then held out for much of the game, Ronaldo added a second eight minutes from time before substitutes Hugo Almeida and Danny also struck.

The win was by no means undeserved, with Portugal on top from the start and Antonis Giorgallides needing to race off his line to block a shot from João Pereira after 13 minutes. The home side's rearguard then failed to deal with a cross and it was left to Giorgallides to save the day again from a Pepe header, before the Cyprus No1 smothered the danger on the half-hour as Hélder Postiga looked ready to pounce following a João Moutinho corner.

Cyprus's respite did not last long as Dobrasinovic was dismissed moments later for handling Postiga's attempt on goal, which left Ronaldo to break the deadlock from the spot. The Real Madrid CF forward was not done there either, burying the ball beyond Giorgallides after playing a neat one-two with Nani, and crossing for Hugo Almeida to pass into an empty net after sprinting past Georgos Merkis.

Danny rounded off the scoring in added time after latching on to a long ball from Moutinho, and the win kept Portugal level on 13 points with Norway at the summit and three ahead of Denmark, who have a game in hand. In fourth, Cyprus will look to bounce back in Iceland on Tuesday, while Portugal face the same team next on 7 October.

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