Cristiano Ronaldo avoids World Cup scares as Bruno Fernandes sends Portugal brace through

PORTUGAL 2-0 NORTH MACEDONIA: A brace from Manchester United against attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes on Tuesday night secured his country’s place at the World Cup in Qatar

Cristiano Ronaldo will captain Portugal in Qatar after they qualify for the World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo will captain Portugal in Qatar after they qualify for the World Cup

Bruno Fernandes scored twice to send Portugal to a World Cup finals for the sixth straight season.

Fernandes may have struggled at United this season but showed his enduring quality on the international stage in Porto to secure Portugal’s place in Qatar. goals from the Manchester United The playmaker in both halves brought Portugal through and prevented North Macedonia World Championship Debut and a second major scalp within a week.

North Macedonia caused a major upset in the play-off semi-finals when they eliminated European champions Italy with an injury-time goal from Aleksandar Trajkovski. But against Portugal Those exploits should not be repeated, as Fernando Santos’ side proved in Friday’s World Cup finals draw.

But just like against Roberto Mancini’s side, North Macedonia set about slowing and frustrating Portugal early on, dropping deep, defending with a man and pressing without possession. North Macedonia goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski also began wasting time after just 10 minutes, his frequent delaying tactics met with boos and jeers from the 50,000 home crowd.

Blagoja Milevski’s side were arguably stronger than in the win against Italy and welcomed their star player, Napoli midfielder Elif Elmas, who was suspended for the Italy game. But that was a step too far for the world-ranked 67th side, Portugal’s experience and quality gave them an advantage as the Euro 2016 winners relaxed through what was ultimately a comfortable night.

The hosts had the first chance of the game in the 14th minute, Liverpool Forward Diogo Jota picking Cristiano Ronaldo, the Manchester United star shoots for the first time but shoots wide with his left foot. Ten minutes later, it was Jota’s turn to miss a scoring opportunity, heading over the bar from a Fernandes corner as Portugal began to pressure their opponents.

Cristiano Ronaldo will play in his fifth World Cup later this year



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The opening goal duly came in the 32nd minute, a wild ball from Stefan Ristovski which was intercepted by Fernandes, who exchanged passes with United team-mate Ronaldo before steering a confident finish out of Dimitrievski’s reach.

Portugal were in control from that point, winning the game with 25 minutes remaining when Fernandes scored his second goal of the night and crossed Jota to the United star to put his first half volley on the net.

The second goal gave Portugal the breathing space they needed to see the game through and Santos had the luxury of knocking out Jota with 13 minutes to go, Fernandes following shortly thereafter.

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