Cristiano Ronaldo etched his name in European Championship history after sealing a late brace in Portugal’s 3-0 victory over Hungary in their Group F Euro 2020 opening clash on Tuesday.
The Juventus star forward started the day as the first player to appear in five European Championships and concluded it as the highest goalscorer in the European Championship history with 11 goals.
Sealing a victory in Budapest against a resilient Hungary side sees Portugal hit the ground running in the ” group of death” comprising France and Germany. Portugal started quickly with Liverpool attacker Diogo Jota testing Gulacsi from range twice, with the Leipzig keeper stepping up to make vital saves.
Gulacsi who was arguably Hungary’s best performer on the pitch stepped up with more saves, as he stopped a Pepe header resulting from a Fernandes cross in the 47th minute. The Hungarian goalkeeper was called to action in the 68th minute, tipping away a long range shot from Bruno Fernandes.
The Hungarians weren’t left out of the action with veteran captain Adam Szalai, rising the highest to meet a Schafer cross in the 37th minute with Rui Patricio making a comfortable save.
Patricio rose to the occassion to prevent Portugal from going behind in the 57th minute, saving a first-time shot from Sallai after a counter-attacking move from Hungary
Best chance of the game fell to mercurial forward Cristiano Ronaldo who blazed over the bar from point blank range shortly before half-time.
The match seemed destined for a draw, as the Hungarians put up a resilient effort to stiffle the Portuguese efforts, until a deflected Ralphael Gueirrero strike in the 84th-minute gave Portugal a late lead at the Puskas Arena in Budapest.
If the game seemed beyond the reach of the Hungarians, Cristiano Ronaldo’s record breaking goal from the penalty spot in the 87th minute certainly cleared any doubts about a victory for Portugal. The Portuguese attacker broke the record for most goals scored in European Championship history, surpassing French legend Michel Platini, with his 10th goal, when he cooly slotted in a penalty, after RB Leipzig defender Willi Orban brought down substitute Rafa Silva in the 18-yard box.
Ronaldo, far from being done with breaking records, finished off a beautiful attacking move for Portugal, playing a one-two pass with Rafa Silva, before rounding Gulacsi to score his 11th goal in European Championship history, and the “Seleccao das Quinas” third goal of the night in stoppage time.
Portugal face Germany in a crunch Saturday tie, with the Germans looking to secure a victory, in order to maintain their group qualification target.
Yesterday’s brace sees Ronaldo move to 106 international goals, just three goals behind Iran’s Ali Daei record of 109 goals.