Captain fantastic Ronaldo scores 4 as Portugal thump Lithuania 5-1
Portugal skipper Ronaldo scores four in team's 5-1 hammering of Lithuania to boost defending champs chances of qualifying for the continental event
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo, making his 160th international appearance, scored four as Portugal won 5-1 over Lithuania in Vilnius and strengthened their position in Group B after a sluggish start. For Ronaldo it was a second hat-trick in three internationals. The victory over Lithuania, 130th in the world rankings, kept Portugal five points behind Ukraine at the top of Group B. Portugal, who opened the group with home draws against Ukraine and Serbia, started their recovery with a win in Belgrade on Saturday. They have a game in hand.
Portugal on track
"We were better, we are better and we won because of it," said Fernando Santos, the Portugal coach. "We kept the pace after the win at Serbia, otherwise this triumph would make no sense, and we are closer," he added. Ronaldo's first goal was a penalty. The second, with the scores level after an hour, was a scuffed low shot from outside the penalty area which took a couple of bounces off the artificial turf before it was parried into the air by the diving Ernestas Setkus. The dropping ball hit the back of the goalie's head before rolling in. The third was a clinical volley from close range. The fourth was a low shot into the corner. Vytautas Andriuskevicius scored the hosts' only goal before William Carvalho added a fifth for the reigning champions at the end.
France rout Andorra 3-0
Meanwhile, France made light work of beating 136-ranked Andorra 3-0. It was Les Bleus' 100th match at the Stade de France. Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty for his country for the second game running but Kinglsey Coman, Clement Lenglet, with his first on the international goal, and Wissam Ben Yedder clinched three points. "It's annoying. I'll just need to keep working. You can't be on top of your game all the time," Griezmann said. Coman also scored two against Albania on Saturday. "It has been a very good week. It has gone well personally and collectively," Coman told television station TF1.
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