October 20, 2021, 23:00

Cristiano Ronaldo adds to Portugal scoring record, Ukraine, Sweden earn big wins – international round-up

Cristiano Ronaldo adds to Portugal scoring record, Ukraine, Sweden earn big wins – international round-up

Cristiano Ronaldo added to his international goal-scoring record as Portugal brushed off Qatar 3-0, while Sweden, Ukraine, Switzerland and others earned important wins in the race for World Cup qualifying.

Ronaldo surpassed the milestone of 109 goals held by Iran’s Ali Daei last month when he scored twice against Ireland to move him onto 111.

He added a 112th at the Algarve Stadium against next year’s World Cup hosts, scoring a close-range left-footed effort from a pass from Manchester United team-mate Diogo Dalot.

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Ronaldo celebrates in his own inimitable style

Fernando Santos took Ronaldo off at half-time, just before ex-Southampton defender Jose Fonte doubled their advantage. Rafael Leao, Ronaldo’s replacement, hit the woodwork before Andre Silva completed the scoring in stoppage time.

Group B: Isak nets wonder strike as Sweden crush Kosovo 3-0

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Alexander Isak curled in a beautiful goal for Sweden in their World Cup qualifier match against Kosovo

Striker Alexander Isak scored a world-class goal to add to an Emil Forsberg penalty and a superb solo effort by Robin Quaison as Sweden cruised to a 3-0 win over Kosovo in their World Cup qualifier.

The home side took the lead box after a lengthy VAR review when Florent Hadergjonaj was found to have handled the ball and winger Forsberg rolled the resulting penalty into the bottom right corner in the 29th minute.

Kosovo thought they had levelled when Vedat Muriqi slammed the ball home from close range in the 57th minute.

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However, the goal was ruled out for offside to the relief of a Swedish defence missing Victor Lindelof, who is at home due to the impending birth of his second child.

The 22-year-old Isak then brought the crowd to their feet just after the hour mark with a mazy dribble and shot, and from the resulting corner he picked up the ball out on the left and cut inside before curling an unstoppable effort into the top right corner.

Substitute Quaison out-muscled the Kosovan defence to make it 3-0 in the 79th minute and secure a win that leaves the Swedes second in the group on 12 points, one behind leaders Spain with a game less played. Kosovo are fourth on four points.

Greece scored two late goals to win at Georgia 2-0 and stay in third place, three points behind Sweden.

Greece and Sweden both have three games left, the first of which comes on Tuesday when they play one another in Stockholm.

Group C: Switzerland take steps towards finals

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Highlights of the World Cup European qualifying group C match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland

Switzerland took control of second place in their World Cup qualifying group after beating Northern Ireland 2-0.

Goals from Steven Zuber and substitute Christian Fassnacht came in stoppage time at the end of either half, after the Irish were reduced to 10 men.

Both goals came on the break but were poor reward for Switzerland’s 25 attempts, seven on target, in a group where leaders Italy’s superior goal difference could yet be decisive.

Northern Ireland were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when defender Jamal Lewis was shown a second yellow card by Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic for taking too long over a throw-in.

Switzerland are three points behind Italy and can draw level on Tuesday with victory against bottom side Lithuania, who got their first points of the campaign by beating Bulgaria 3-1 on Saturday.

Group A: Serbia boost hopes of reaching finals

Serbia boosted their hopes of reaching the 2022 World Cup after a moment of individual skill from striker Dusan Vlahovic gave them a barely deserved 1-0 win at Luxembourg in a turgid Group A qualifier on Saturday.

The result lifted Serbia to the top of the group on 14 points from six games, one more than Portugal who have a game in hand. Luxembourg stayed third on six points from five games.

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Highlights of the European World Cup Qualifier between Azerbaijan and Ireland

Callum Robinson ended a week of controversy with a decisive double as the Republic of Ireland won a competitive match for the first time under manager Stephen Kenny in Azerbaijan. They remain fourth, but are now within a point of Luxembourg.

Robinson hit the headlines in the run-up to the game after revealing he had chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite twice contracting the virus, but provided the perfect response to the criticism he received as a result with two first-half goals to set the stage for a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win in Baku.

Group D: Yarmolenko helps Ukraine beat Finland

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West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko scores his 43rd goal for Ukraine with a sublime strike from the edge of the area against Finland

First-half goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk gave Ukraine a 2-1 win over Finland in their World Cup qualifier.

West Ham United forward Yarmolenko put the visitors ahead less than five minutes after kickoff when he drove home from 20 metres past the Finnish goalkeeper.

Norwich City forward Teemu Pukki levelled for Finland in the 29th minute but Ukraine regained the lead minutes later with a goal from Yaremchuk.

Ukraine moved into second place in Group D with eight points behind France on 12 points. Finland sit above Kazakhstan with five points.

Bosnia and Herzegovina earned their first win of the qualifying campaign at the fifth time of asking with a 2-0 victory in Kazakhstan.

Smail Prevaljak’s goals in either half sealed victory against a Kazakh side who managed only one shot on target all game.

Group I: Albania keep dreams alive in Hungary

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Willi Orban of Hungary in action against Sokol Cikalleshi

Armando Broja scored 10 minutes from time to hand Albania an upset 1-0 away victory over Hungary in Budapest and keep up their hopes of an unlikely World Cup qualification.

The English-born Broja, who is on loan at Southampton from Chelsea, scored for a second successive Group I game against Hungary after also netting a dramatic late winner in last month’s 1-0 home success in Elbasan.

The game was played behind closed doors at the Puskas Arena after Hungary were fined and given a stadium ban after the racist abuse of England players in their World Cup qualifying clash last month.

The points kept Albania in second place in Group I, one ahead of Poland, who were 5-0 winners over San Marino, and four behind leaders England, who won easily in Andorra.

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Krzysztof Piatek celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal

Albania, who used to be one of the whipping boys of European football, now have the opportunity of moving even closer to the minimum of a playoff berth in March if they beat Poland in their next match in Tirana on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in England’s group, Poland thrashed San Marino 5-0 in their Group I World Cup qualifier on Saturday as Paulo Sousa’s side remain one point behind second-placed Albania.

Karol Swiderski put the hosts ahead after ten minutes with a close-range header, followed by an own goal by San Marino ten minutes later, after defender Christian Brolli deflected a pass from Kacper Kozlowski.

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Highlights of the European World Cup Qualifying match between Poland and San Marino.

The hosts increased their lead shortly after halftime when defender Tomasz Kedziora struck the ball into the roof of the net. Striker Adam Buksa scored in the 84th minute having grabbed a hat-trick against San Marino in September.

Krzysztof Piatek tapped the ball into the net in stoppage time in his first match since recovering from the injury that prevented him from playing at Euro 2020.

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Lukasz Fabianski played the last minutes of his international career tonight against San Marino, and he was given a standing ovation as he came off the field.

Group F: Denmark maintain 100-per-cent record

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Denmark's Andreas Skov Olsen celebrates after scoring his side's first goal

Andreas Skov Olsen grabbed one goal and created two others as Denmark scored four times in a dominant first-half display to thrash Moldova 4-0.

Winger Olsen opened the scoring for the Danes, who lost to England in their Euro 2020 semi-final, in the 23rd minute, rifling the ball home from a tight angle after Pierre Emile Hojbjerg hit a post and the home side failed to clear.

Ten minutes later Olsen’s attempted cross was handled in the box by Denis Marandici, and captain Simon Kjaer fired the resulting penalty into the top right corner for a rare international goal in his 116th appearance.

The 21-year-old Olsen then drilled a corner to the back post for Christian Norgaard to bundle home his first international goal to make it 3-0 in the 39th minute, and full back Joakim Maehle added a fourth just before half-time.

The win leaves Denmark top of Group F with 21 points from a perfect seven wins from seven and no goals conceded, with a seven-point lead over second-placed Scotland. Moldova are bottom of the six-team group with one point.

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Highlights of the World Cup qualifier between Scotland and Israel from Hampden Park

Scott McTominay headed home deep in stoppage time as Scotland twice came from behind to beat Israel 3-2 on Saturday and keep alive hopes of a first World Cup finals appearance since 1998.

The dramatic conclusion to their qualifier at Hampden Park, and three-point haul, means Scotland consolidated second place in Group F as they moved to 14 points, four ahead of third placed Israel, with three matches each still to play.

Austria won 2-0 in the Faroe Islands, but remain in fourth place in the group standings.

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