World Cup qualifiers: Ronaldo, Lukaku score braces for Portugal and Belgium

Updated: Nov 15, 2016, 10:04 IST | AFP

In high-voltage encounters, strikers Cristiano & Lukaku net a brace each in Portugal's 4-1 win over Latvia and Belgium's 8-1 win over Estonia respectively

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match vs Latvia on Sunday and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates a goal vs Estonia. Pics/AFP
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match vs Latvia on Sunday and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates a goal vs Estonia. Pics/AFP

Paris: Belgium hammered Estonia 8-1 to go clear in Group H, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal survived a scare before overcoming Latvia 4-1 in World Cup qualifying on Sunday. There were braces from Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens as Belgium ran rampant with further goals from Thomas Meunier, Eden Hazard, Yannick Carrasco and an own goal to make it four wins from four.

Ronaldo scored twice and even missed a spot-kick as European champions Portugal recovered from a second-half wobble in Lisbon to remain three points adrift of Group B leaders Switzerland.

Ronaldo misses penalty
Ronaldo converted a first-half spot kick to open the scores but then missed a second one which hit the post. Within a minute Latvia were level as substitute Arturs Zjuzins pounced on the loose ball following a goalmouth scramble to fire home on 67 minutes. But headers from Willian and Bruno Alves and a spectacular scissor-kick from Ronaldo assured Portugal of the three points. Manchester United's Memphis Depay scored twice and save the Netherlands' blushes in Luxembourg.

Depay's strong message
Depay gave United manager Jose Mourinho a reminder of his worth just as the Dutch were sliding to an embarrassing draw. The 3-1 victory over Luxembourg keeps the misfiring Dutch in the hunt for a place at Russia 2018, but they will need to play better if they are to trump twin threats from table-toppers France and Sweden in Group A.

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