Portugal made it nine victories from as many 2024 European Championship qualifying matches with a 2-0 triumph over Liechtenstein at the Rheinpark Stadion on Thursday.
Despite having already seen his side book their ticket for next year’s tournament, Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez named a strong starting XI, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva all getting the nod.
Portugal kicked off the game on the front foot and looked to establish their dominance early on.
For all of their attacking intensity, they created just one clear-cut opportunity in the first half which fell to Goncalo Ramos on the half-hour mark.
However, the Paris Saint-Germain man could only direct his header wide of the right post from inside the box.
With the sides level at half-time, Liechtenstein were the happier team going into the interval but they went behind within 60 seconds of the restart.
Ronaldo unleashed a fizzing strike which caught the upright after beating Benjamin Buchel, but Diogo Jota teed up the rebound for the Portugal skipper to finish home from close range.
That was Ronaldo’s fifth international goal in the last three matches, and the 38-year-old is now level with Romelu Lukaku at the top of the Euro qualifying scoring charts.
Having now edged ahead, Portugal showed great desire to add to their advantage and kill off Liechtenstein, who were beginning to show some signs of life.
Portugal grabbed a second goal in the 57th minute through Joao Cancelo as the Barcelona defender profited from some sloppy defending to double his side’s lead.
The concession of a second goal spurred Liechtenstein to even more attacking endeavour, and they should have pulled one back just past the hour mark when Dennis Salanovic failed to beat Jose Sa from close range.
That was Liechtenstein’s last meaningful attacking inquest of the game as they spent the final 30 minutes under the cosh.
Ramos had the ball in the net eight minutes from time, but his effort was chalked off for offside after the intervention of VAR.
That did not matter as Portugal maintained their 100% record in the qualifiers and now sit on 27 points, eight points clear of nearest challengers Slovakia.
The Euro 2016 winners will bid to wrap up their qualifying journey on a high note when they welcome Iceland to Estadio Jose Alvalade on Sunday.
- The six best Premier League signings of the season so far
- Manchester City back on track after 2-1 victory over Luton Town
- Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Bailey goal extends Villains’ unbeaten home run
- Pep Guardiola denies City are reliant on Rodri but the stats disagree
- Preview: Aston Villa vs Arsenal – prediction, team news, line-ups
- Man Utd boss Ten Hag scoops Premier League MOTM award
- This Week In Football: Last-minute UWNL drama, Santos relegated & more
- Morning Mix: Arsenal face acid test at Villa, Chelsea boss has no excuses
- Arsenal or Liverpool: Who is better placed to beat Man City to the title?
- Copa America 2024 draw: Argentina to face Chile, Brazil and USMNT discover their groups