Cristiano Ronaldo made European Championship history with his record-breaking 10th and 11th finals goals as Portugal saw off Hungary to open their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-0 victory in Budapest.
The reigning European champions dominated the first half in the hostile, 60,000 capacity Puskas Arena but failed to convert their chances, with Ronaldo, Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva all guilty of squandering opportunities before the break.
Hungary’s hopes of causing an upset grew after the interval and they looked to have stunned holders Portugal when substitute Szabolcs Schon found the back of the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Portugal took full advantage of their reprieve, with Raphael Guerreiro’s heavily deflected strike breaking the deadlock six minutes from time, laying the foundation for Ronaldo to steal the show.
On the day he became the first player to appear in five European Championships, Ronaldo overtook Michel Platini’s long-standing record tally of nine goals with a clinical penalty three minutes from time.
Ronaldo then rounded off Portugal’s perfect start with his second in stoppage-time after waltzing through the Hungarian defence, as he moved onto 106 international goals, three shy of Iranian striker Ali Daei’s all-time record.
Hungary: Gulacsi (8), Botka (6), Orban (7), A. Szalai (7), Lovrencsics (6), Kleinheisler (7), Nagy (6), Schafer (7), Fiola (6), Szalai (6), Sallai (6).
Subs: Nego (5), Siger (5), Schon (6).
Portugal: Patricio (7), Semedo (6), Dias (7), Pepe (8), Guerreiro (7), Danilo (6), Carvalho (6), Fernandes (6), Ronaldo (8), Jota (6), B. Silva (6).
Subs: Rafa Silva (5), Sanches (n/a)
Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo steals the show in Budapest
Portugal had ample opportunity to silence the ferocious capacity crowd at the Puskas Arena, carving out opportunity after opportunity in the first period.
The holders could have made the breakthrough inside five minutes, but having opted against squaring for the unmarked Ronaldo, Jota’s drive was palmed away by Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.
Jota was found in space by a Bruno Fernandes’ free-kick soon after but hooked a rushed shot over the bar despite having more time than he realised. It wasn’t long before Gulacsi was called into action again, this time to tip Ronaldo’s near-post drive around the post.
Ronaldo hung in the air to reach Bernardo Silva’s cross on the half-hour mark but failed to steer his header into the far corner. Hungary responded with their first attempt on target of the half, but captain Adam Szalai’s header was straight at Rui Patricio in the Portuguese goal.
Portugal rallied as the first half drew to a close but failed to make the breakthrough as Jota’s shot and swivel was thwarted by Gulacsi before Ronaldo passed up the visitors’ best chance when he blazed Fernandes’ driven cross over from six yards with the goal at his mercy.
Centre-back Pepe drew Gulacsi into a fingertip save with a towering header two minutes after the interval, but Portugal failed to push on, inviting pressure from Hungary who grew in confidence with each passing minute.
Adam Szalai and Roland Sallai both drew saves from Patricio and Hungary looked to have got their reward for their improved attacking display 10 minutes from time when substitute Schon drove a shot home at the near post.
The wild Hungarian celebrations were short-lived, however, with the linesman’s flag instantly going up before the decision was upheld by VAR, and Portugal rubbed salt into the wounds three minutes later.
Rafa Silva’s cutback from the right was lashed towards goal by left-back Guerreiro, with his shot taking a huge deflection on its way past Gulacsi into the bottom corner to break Hungary hearts.
Things took a turn for the worse three minutes later when Willi Orban was adjudged to have hauled Rafa Silva to ground in the area, handing Ronaldo the chance to score his record-breaking goal from the penalty spot.
And, in the second of two added minutes, Ronaldo brilliantly exchanged passes with Fernandes to weave through the Hungarian defence before stroking in his 106th international goal to send Portugal top of Group F.
Record-breaking Ronaldo – Match stats
- Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in European Championship Finals history to score 10+ goals in the competition (11), overtaking Michel Platini’s record of nine (all scored in the 1984 edition).
- There were just 177 seconds between Portugal opening the scoring and taking a 2-0 lead through Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty – in converting his spot-kick, the Juventus striker became the oldest player to score for Portugal at a major tournament (World Cup & Euros), aged 36 years and 130 days.
- Portugal equalled their largest margin of victory at the European Championships, with their previous victories by three goals coming in 1996 (3-0 v Croatia) and 2000 (3-0 v Germany).
- Hungary are winless in their last four games at the European Championships (D2 L2), conceding at least three goals in each of the last three (two of those against Portugal).
- Portugal became the first team in the history of the European Championships to score three goals in the final 10 minutes of a game.
Neville: Ronaldo record obscene
Gary Neville speaking on ITV:
“It’s an obscene record. 106 goals for his country is absolutely ridiculous. He continues to beat individual record after individual record. He wants to be the best player in the world and seen as one of the greatest of all-time in terms of scoring more goals than anyone and he’ll go and do it.
“His physical shape is absolutely incredible. He’s adapted from being someone who sprinted from the left wing or the right wing. Now he’s not doing as much running in games and he’s not as explosive but he’s just basically a poacher. You wouldn’t traditionally think of him as a centre-forward but he is now a striker and a brilliant goalscorer.
“There are no words left for him really. He’s ruthless. He doesn’t let up and any point in the game. He’s desperate, so desperate, to score goals and make the very best out of every single minute of every single game.”
Man of the Match – Cristiano Ronaldo
Peter Gulacsi was in inspired form between the sticks for Hungary but the night belonged to Portugal’s goalscoring sensation.
Ronaldo’s late double saw him overtake Michael Platini as the highest scorer in European Championship history and means his tally stands at 11 goals and counting in this competition.
What’s more, Ronaldo now has a staggering 106 international goals to his name, three shy of Ali Daei’s all-time record of 109 for Iran. With Portugal up and running, there could be more history around the corner for Ronaldo.
Hungary host world champions France in Budapest on Saturday at 2pm, before Portugal face Germany in Munich on Saturday at 5pm.
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