Cristiano Ronaldo nets 100th international goal for Portugal

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Pic Courtesy: The Indian Express

Stockholm: Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th international goal for Portugal to rattle a 10-man Sweden 2-0 in a UEFA Nations League match on Tuesday (September 8). He thus joins the 100-club with Ali Daie who has a record 109 international goals for Iran.

Just before the half time, CR7 netted an outstanding free-kick to give Portugal a 1-0 lead at Stockholm. After missing the first game against Croatia, Ronaldo returned on his 165th game and hit the milestone with a bang.

Ronaldo scored his first international goal against Greece at Euro 2004 and currently, he is the active leader in the international goals in men’s football. India’s Sunil Chhetri with 72 goals and Argentina’s Leo Messi with 70 goals occupy the second and third spots respectively.

The 35-year-old was a constant threat to Sweden’s back line in the early exchanges, hanging on the shoulder of the last defender before bursting forward to beat the offside trap, but Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen was equal to the task.

That all changed when Gustav Svensson received his second yellow card and was sent packing after a reckless challenge on Joao Moutinho on the edge of his own box just before halftime. Ronaldo stepped up and smashed a dipping effort beyond the despairing dive of Olsen and just under the crossbar before breaking into a wide smile as he celebrated with his team mates.

Sweden were struggling to contain the visitors and Ronaldo struck again in the 73rd minute with another curling, dipping effort, this time from open play, to leave himself just eight goals short of Daei’s international scoring record. Moutinho credited the Swedes for making it difficult for them early on, but that all changed with the dismissal of Svensson.

“Of course the red card was good for us, we tried to circulate the ball to find spaces, and happily we scored two great goals from Ronaldo,” he said. With two wins from two games Portugal top Group 3, ahead on goal difference of France, who beat Croatia 4-2, with the Swedes third and the Croatians bottom.

France meet Portugal in a top-of-the-table clash in Paris on October 11, while Croatia host Sweden on the same date.

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