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Ronaldo scores as Portugal rekindles Euro 2020 hopes with 4-2 win in Serbia



Portugal returned to track its qualifying campaign for Euro 2020 with goals from William Carvalho, Goncalo Guedes, Cristian Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva in a throbbing 4-2 victory in Belgrade on Saturday.

The victory over Serbia raised the European champions to second place in Group B with five points in three games, eight behind the fugitive leaders Ukraine. Ukraine has 13 points in five games after its 3-0 victory in Lithuania on Saturday.

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Third place, Luxembourg and Serbia in the fourth, have four points in the same number of games, while Lithuania is at the bottom with one point in four games. Portugal dominated the first half, and Carvalho shot them forward in the 42nd minute when he put the ball into an empty net from three meters.

Serbian goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic had spilled a Bruno Fernandes center from the right. Cristiano Ronaldo looked moderate in the first half. He received as hotile reception at Red Star Stadium when Serbian fans made fun of him every time he touched the ball but approached twice at the beginning of the second half.

He shot inches wide from the edge of the penalty area after cutting from the left and then took a free-kick just near the target. Striker Guedes then doubled Portugal’s lead with excellent individual effort.

He limited a fluid movement when he dodged a defender and launched an unstoppable shot past Dmitrovic in the far corner of 12 meters to silence the noisy local crowd.

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Central Nikola Milenkovic took one for Serbia in the 68th minute, leading a corner kick from Dusan Tadic to goalkeeper Rui Patricio. Mocked by the chants of “Messi” from the staunch fans of Serbia, Ronaldo demonstrated his class in the 80th minute. He took a pass from Bernardo Silva calmly and threw the ball coldly on Dmitrovic’s advance.

Serbia refused to turn around when Aleksandar Mitrovic fired a shot from inside the penalty area to the roof of the net after a defensive error in the 85th minute. But Silva sealed the contest with a clinical ending just 60 seconds later.