Portugal cruised to a 3-0 victory over Algeria in its final pre-World Cup friendly on Thursday night, with superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo making a successful return to the national squad after a two-game absence. Also Read - Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Most Admired Sportsman in The World Revealed
The match also marked Cristiano Ronaldo’s 150th appearance for his nation. The 5-time Ballon’Dor winner has scored 81 goals and provided 28 assists for his country.
As it stands, Ronaldo is the highest international goalscorer in football history, followed by rival Lionel Messi and Indian international Sunil Chhetri at 3rd. Also Read - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo Miss Out on UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award; Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer Nominated
Over the past 10 days, Portugal stumbled to a 2-2 tie against Tunisia and a scoreless draw versus Belgium without the Real Madrid talisman, who took a break after the Blancos’ victory over Liverpool in the May 26 Champions League final. Also Read - Cristiano Ronaldo to Miss Serie A Games For Juventus, Hints Coach Andrea Pirlo
Unaffected by a steady rain at Estadio da Luz in this capital, Portugal seized control of the match from the outset and would have opened the scoring with a Ronaldo goal in the 10th minute if not for a highly questionable off-side call.
But seven minutes later 21-year-old winger Goncalo Guedes made the score 1-0 when he scored in the area off a headed pass by Bernardo Silva, who had received a long ball from William Carvalho.
The Euro 2016 champions then struck again in the 37th minute when Ronaldo received a ball on the left side and sent a cross into the area to midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who headed the ball past Algerian net minder Abdelkader Salhi.
The Portuguese onslaught continued after halftime when Guedes scored on a header off a pass from Raphael Guerreiro, a play that was almost identical to the Iberian nation’s second goal.
Ronaldo was replaced by Andre Silva in the 74th minute, bringing an early end to the Portuguese captain’s 150th appearance as a member of the national squad.
Portugal then nearly got a fourth goal in the 81st minute, although the score was disallowed when the video assistant referee called Guedes for a hand ball on the play.
Algeria, meanwhile, finally generated some offense with time winding down, producing two shots on goal that gave goalkeeper Rui Patricio a chance to shine.
The victory was a confidence-booster for Portugal, which got its first win since a 2-1 friendly victory over Egypt on March 23.
Ronaldo and company will play their opening match at this summer’s World Cup in Russia on June 15 against Spain, followed by two other Group B contests against Morocco on June 20 and versus Iran on June 25.
Algeria failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2006.