Portugal 4-0 Switzerland: Rampant Ronaldo at the double

Source: Livescore News

Cristiano Ronaldo gave an emphatic reminder of his value to Portugal as he fired them to a 4-0 victory over Switzerland in the Nations League.

The veteran forward and captain was rested to the bench for his country’s opener with Spain on Thursday, forced to make do with a half-hour cameo in the 1-1 draw.

But the Manchester United star sent a searing message of his indispensability to coach Fernando Santos on his return to the starting line-up, bagging a double after setting up the opener for the hosts at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

For Murat Yakin’s Swiss visitors, a second defeat of the Nations League in as many games leaves them facing a tough remaining schedule, after losing to the Czech Republic last time out.

It could have been so different though, after a lively start in Lisbon looked to have thrown up a wretched start for the hosts when Haris Seferovic prodded in from close range amid a crowded box.

Portugal were let off the hook, however, when VAR intervened to deem Fabian Schar had committed a handball infringement in the build-up from Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner.

After that early scare, Santos’ side sought to impose themselves and were rewarded on the quarter-hour mark when William Carvalho tapped home the rebound after Ronaldo’s free-kick was pushed out.

From there, Ronaldo unfurled his instinct for hitting goals in rapid succession, first doubling his side’s lead with a smooth strike from Diogo Jota’s cut-back in the 35th minute, before adding a second for himself four minutes later with a tap-in.

The captain almost had a hat-trick before the break, steering an effort wide, and even as the goals dried up after the interval, he remained a potent marshal for Portugal’s steady hold on the encounter.

With a three-goal cushion a bridge too far for Switzerland, the visitors proved particularly toothless in response. When Joao Cancelo struck in the 68th minute, what little resistance the Swiss had displayed perished as the hosts steered themselves to a resounding victory.

What does it mean? Ronaldo roars back with response

Speaking after Thursday’s draw with Spain, Santos suggested he had relegated his captain to the bench for tactical reasons – a bold call against Euro 2020 semi-finalists.

It undoubtedly fired up Ronaldo, and from the opening whistle in this game the veteran attacker was a prowling presence all over the pitch.

With seven shots – five of them on target – no player had more attempts than him, while only Nuno Mendes produced more key passes for the hosts throughout.

Skipper extends goal record

On his 188th appearance for his country, Ronaldo also further extended his lead at the top of the all-time men’s international goal scorer charts, after seizing the record from Iran’s Ali Daei last year.

He has now 117 goals, eight more than the latter, and with the Qatar 2022 World Cup looming he has the chance to further bolster his record over the coming months.

Swiss left to rue mistakes

With a defensive performance featuring more holes than a Swiss cheese, the visitors will know they face an uphill battle to stay in the top tier of the Nations League after this current edition.

Yet with just five shots against Portugal’s 18 – and only one after the break – it will be their lack of attacking threat that likely concerns coach Yakin most.

What’s next?

Portugal remain in Lisbon to welcome the Czech Republic on Thursday, while Switzerland return home to tackle Spain on the same day.

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