2016 UEFA European Championship winners Portugal initiated their bid to qualify for an eighth consecutive edition with a commanding 4-0 victory over minnows Liechtenstein, a match in which Cristiano Ronaldo marked a world-record 197th international cap with a brace.
Former Belgium manager Roberto Martínez took charge of his maiden game as the Seleção boss – their first since a disappointing 2022 World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Morocco.
As might be expected for a matchup between sides separated by 191 places in the FIFA World Rankings, Portugal started with firmly the upper hand, and seized an expected lead after just 8 minutes.
A couple of João Félix attempts bounced harmlessly at Büchel, before Ronaldo powered a clear-cut one-on-one opportunity well over the bar.
Liechtenstein produced a spirited performance for the remainder of the half, and coupled with Portugal’s impotency in front of goal, the visitors’ impressive organisation and tenacity in defence meant they would only be one behind going into the break.
Frustrated in the first half, Portugal were never going to allow Liechtenstein a route back into the game.
The right-back continued to be in the thick of the action, as he was bundled over in the box just minutes later for a Portugal penalty.
Having overtaken Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa for his record 197th cap tonight, Ronaldo was hungry for a goal to mark the occasion, and the legendary striker stepped up to dispatch with confidence.