Ronaldo marks comeback with four goals in 6-0 rout

A familiar sight for Portugal fans, as Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in his unique style after scoring four past Andorra. The four goals bring his international goal tally to 65 in 134 appearances.
A familiar sight for Portugal fans, as Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in his unique style after scoring four past Andorra. The four goals bring his international goal tally to 65 in 134 appearances.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

AVEIRO (Portugal) • Cristiano Ronaldo marked his international return with four goals in a 6-0 mauling of hapless Andorra on Friday, and then demanded eight more wins to guarantee Portugal a place in the 2018 World Cup Finals.

The forward took his Portugal career tally to 65 goals in 134 games but his team, the European champions, are only third in Group B, a point behind minnows Faroe Islands and three back from leaders Switzerland.

Only the group winners are certain of making the Finals in Russia.

On Friday, the Swiss followed their opening 2-0 win over the Portuguese with a last-gasp 3-2 triumph at Hungary, while the Faroes beat Latvia 2-0 in Riga.

"We know that Switzerland and the Faroes won and it will be necessary for us to beat them during qualification," said Ronaldo. "There are eight games left and we want to win them all to reach the World Cup Finals."

The 31-year-old was making his first appearance for Portugal since he was stretchered off injured in tears in the Euro 2016 final.

He wasted no time in making up for his three-month absence from international football, getting off the mark after just 73 seconds.

He was wrestled to the floor at a corner but then jumped up to volley in left footed from around the penalty spot, after the Andorra goalkeeper Jose Gomes could only parry a Portugal header.

Ronaldo added his second goal just two minutes later, when he was left totally unmarked in the six-yard box to rise and head in.

After Joao Cancelo scored Portugal's third goal in the 44th minute, Ronaldo made it the perfect hat-trick just 90 seconds after the break, grabbing his third goal with a sweet right-footed volley.

Andorra's nightmare evening got worse just after the hour when they went down to 10 men, Jordi Rubio receiving a second yellow card for clattering late and hard into Ronaldo, who punished the away side soon after with another fine half-volley for his fourth goal.

Cynical and increasingly desperate, Andorra saw red again when Marc Rebes was sent off, again for cutting down Ronaldo.

Andre Silva completed the rout four minutes from time.

"Obviously I am very happy to have come back after my serious injury in the Euro final," said Ronaldo. "We scored twice in the first five minutes and the match became a lot easier."

Portugal will be in action again tomorrow when they travel to the Faroes.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'Ronaldo marks comeback with four goals in 6-0 rout'. Print Edition | Subscribe