FARO, Portugal (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo added to his goal-scoring record in men's international soccer by helping Portugal brush off Qatar 3-0 in a friendly on Saturday, while Serbia took the lead of their World Cup qualifying group.
Ronaldo surpassed the milestone of 110 goals held by Iran’s Ali Daei last month when he scored twice against Ireland to give him 111. Since then, he missed two matches for Portugal, including a 3-1 win over Qatar in another friendly against the hosts of next year’s World Cup.
Back at Algarve Stadium, Ronaldo made it 112 goals in the 37th minute, using his left foot to score from close after a pass by Manchester United teammate Diogo Dalot.
Coach Fernando Santos took Ronaldo off at halftime, just before José Fonte doubled the advantage. Rafael Leão, Ronaldo’s replacement, hit the woodwork and André Silva completed the scoring in stoppage time.
Ronaldo made his 181st appearance for Portugal, one more than Sergio Ramos made for Spain, for the most in European international soccer. Ramos has not played for several months with Spain due to injury.
While Portugal kept up its winning form, its rivals for reaching the World Cup were in action in their European qualifying group.
Serbia moved ahead of Portugal to take the lead of Group A by winning at Luxembourg 1-0. The victory gave the Serbs one more point than Portugal, which has one more game to play.
Dusan Vlahovic earned the winner for Serbia in the 68th after Milos Veljkovic played him clear.
Portugal hosts Luxembourg on Tuesday, when Serbia hosts Azerbaijan.
Ireland coach Stephen Kenny got his first win in 13 competitive matches after his side beat Azerbaijan 3-0 in Baku.
Ireland stayed in second-to-last place with five points, one fewer than Luxembourg. Azerbaijan remained at the bottom of the group with one point.
Forward Callum Robinson scored Ireland’s first two goals.
He struck from outside the area in the seventh after receiving the ball from James McClean. With the hosts pressing for an equalizer, Robison made it 2-0 in the 39th when his long-range strike hit a defender to leave goalkeeper Sahruddin Mehemmedeliyev out of position.
Substitute Chiedozie Ogbene rounded off the much-needed victory with his first goal for Ireland in stoppage time.
Robinson had been at the center of attention in Ireland this week following his revelation that he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19 despite having twice tested positive for the coronavirus.
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