Portugal vs. Hungary: Score and Reaction for World Cup 2018 Qualifying

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2017

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring during the WC 2018 group B football qualifing match Portugal vs Hungary at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on March 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA        (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to a 3-0 win over Hungary during Saturday's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at Estadio da Luz, scoring a brace.

Hungary gave Portugal all they could handle in the first half, but a quick double from Andre Silva and Ronaldo gave the European champions a comfortable lead.

The Real Madrid star converted a free-kick after the break, and Portugal cruised to the finish line from that point.

Portugal made three changes compared to the team that beat Latvia in November, with Cedric Soares, Pepe and Ricardo Quaresma inserted in the starting XI, per the team's official Twitter account:

The hosts started with Ronaldo out wide and Silva in a more central role, but Hungary countered with a physical approach in midfield that meant the two had to come and claim the ball.

The first chance fell to the Real Madrid man, who powered a shot wide of the mark. Soares tested goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi with a header shortly after.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures after missing a goal opportunity during the WC 2018 group B football qualifing match Portugal vs Hungary at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on March 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA        (Photo cre
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/Getty Images
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Jose Fonte got away with a clear elbow that could have resulted in a red card after 11 minutes, and to the horror of the Hungarian players, the official awarded Portugal a free-kick from a promising position shortly after. Ronaldo again failed to find the target.

The first real chance of the match came after 20 minutes, as Quaresma's deflected effort landed perfectly for Ronaldo, who headed the ball inches wide of the goal.

AS English started to get impatient:

Adam Szalai also missed a great chance, slicing a volley over the bar after a mistake from Fonte.

A goal seemed inevitable, and it was Silva who finished off a superb passing move from the hosts to give his team the lead, per sports writer Tom Kundert:

Hungary had given the European champions a very good contest until that point, but the opening goal took all of the wind out of their sails, and four minutes later, the score was 2-0.

It was star forward Ronaldo himself who converted, impressing Kundert with a clean strike:

Things could have gotten even worse for Hungary, as Ronaldo put Gulacsi to work with an acrobatic effort from the edge of the box. Silva also went close, with Barnabas Bese making a great clearance before the half-time whistle blew.

Hungary started the second half in better fashion, as substitute Gergo Lovrencsics made an immediate impact.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) vies with Hungary's midfielder Adam Nagy (R)  during the WC 2018 group B football qualifing match Portugal vs Hungary at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on March 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA        (P
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/Getty Images

Portugal kept attacking, however, and a deflected effort from Ronaldo nearly crept under the crossbar. Pepe comically missed the ball completely from the resulting corner.

The visitors' pressure didn't last very long, and before long, Portugal settled into a comfortable routine. The team earned a free-kick after 64 minutes, and Ronaldo did what he does best, firing a great shot that clipped the post.

As shared by sports writer Liam Canning, his scoring record for Portugal is incredible:

Balazs Dzsudzsak tried to hit back, forcing Rui Patricio into a save with Hungary's first attempt on target. Andre Gomes also let loose, firing over.

The pace of the match dropped entering the final 20 minutes, as both teams seemed to accept the result. The Hungarians ran into several bookings as they desperately tried to limit the damage, while Portugal cruised to the finish line.

Bernardo Silva lifted a header over the bar in what was the final chance of the match. The win leaves Portugal three points behind Switzerland for the group lead.

Nani took to Twitter to congratulate his compatriots after the match:

Portugal's next outing will be the friendly against Sweden on Tuesday, while Hungary host Russia on June 5.