Ronaldo nails two
25 March, 2018, 12:00 am
ZURICH – Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored two stoppage time goals to steal a 2-1 win over Egypt after Mohamed Salah had given the African side the lead in an entertaining World Cup warm-up in Switzerland on Friday.
Salah scored with a thumping drive to put Egypt ahead early in the second half.
However, Ronaldo refused to be upstaged and he sneaked in behind his marker to head in Ricardo Quaresma’s cross from the left in the 92nd minute.
Not content with that, Ronaldo scored again with another header, once more from a Quaresma pass, this time from the right, with the final move of the game. There was initial confusion as they referee consulted the video assistant referee (VAR) system for a possible offside before allowing the goal.
The European champions had enjoyed the better of a match played in a lively atmosphere but their African opponents showed enough to worry World Cup group rivals Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo fired two free kicks into the Egyptian wall in the first half, the first from inside the penalty area after the Egyptian defence naively passed the ball back to goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
Portugal defender Rolando, returning to the side after a four-year absence, had the ball in the net from a close-range header in the 41st minute, only to see the goal disallowed for offside.
Egypt broke the deadlock in the 56th minute after a flowing attack ended with Abdallah El Said playing the ball back to Salah who swept it in from the edge of the area with an effortless first time shot.
It seemed as though it was not to be Ronaldo’s night when his powerful drive was saved by El Shenawy.
However, Portugal’s record scorer and most capped international was not to be denied as he struck twice in three dramatic minutes.
His two goals in three minutes took his tally to 81 in 148 internationals.
“We were better overall,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.
“We were not so good collectively in the second half but our individual creativity helped us win the game.”
Egypt coach Hector Cuper was disappointed with the result but happy with the performance.
“As far as measuring ourselves against a top team like Portugal, I’m happy with what we did, and this was a good game for us in that sense” he said.
“It’s just a shame they scored in the 92nd and 94th minutes.”