Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in four minutes as Portugal registered their first win of the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League campaign over Switzerland.
An early glimmer of hope was all Portugal allowed the Swiss in their meeting on Sunday night. Murat Yakin’s men thought they led five minutes in thanks to Haris Seferovic’s finish from close range, but the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up. From then on, it was a Cristiano show. Portugal’s talisman scored twice in four minutes and could’ve had many more.
William Carvalho gave the Selecao the lead in the 15th minute, turning in a rebound from close range after Gregor Kobel had kept Ronaldo’s freekick out.
Later, the Portuguese skipper grabbed his brace in quick succession, scoring his first in the 35th minute at the end of a rapid counter-attack and, four minutes later, from a rebound close to the goal. He nearly completed a remarkable seven-minute hattrick, too, only to miss the target from a couple of yards out despite getting on the end of a Joao Cancelo cross.
Ronaldo also had a goal disallowed minutes after the restart for offside. But, while the forward could not grab his third, Portugal did grab a fourth through Cancelo in the 68th minute.
The full-back left the ball with his club teammate Bernardo Silva and continued his run forward; he flicked the subsequent threaded through pass around an onrushing Kobel and tapped the ball into an empty net. That completed a resounding win for Portugal, who went joint-top of the group with the Czech Republic.
Elsewhere, the Czechs were pegged back twice by last edition’s losing finalists Spain. Jaroslav Silhavy’s men led four minutes in through Jakub Pesek’s close-range finish but found themselves heading into the break level on scores after 17-year-old Gavi curled the ball around Thomas Vaclik from inside the box.
However, Jan Kuchta gave the home side the lead yet again in the 66th minute, timing his off-the-shoulder run to perfection before clipping the ball over Unai Simon. But, Spain refused to give up, and centre-back Inigo Martinez rescued a point with a 90th-minute header from close range.