Portugal Defeat Hungary 1-0 in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2017

Portugal's André Silva (C) celebrates scoring with teammates including captain Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and João Mário (L) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Hungary and Portugal at The Grupama Arena in Budapest on September 3, 2017.   / AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK        (Photo credit should read ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)
ATTILA KISBENEDEK/Getty Images

Portugal beat Hungary 1-0 in UEFA Group B of FIFA World Cup qualifying on Sunday, keeping the European champions within striking distance of leaders Switzerland.

Andre Silva's header after 48 minutes killed the match, with the hosts unable to gain a foothold in proceedings.

Cristiano Ronaldo provided the assist for Silva's goal, expertly finding the striker with a lofted cross shortly after half-time.

Portugal's Cedric (L) fights for the ball with Hungary's captain Balazs Dzsudzsak (R) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Hungary and Portugal at The Grupama Arena in Budapest on September 3, 2017.   / AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KI
ATTILA KISBENEDEK/Getty Images

Portugal gave a start to the experienced Fabio Coentrao, as Danilo Pereira and Gelson Martins were drafted in by coach Fernando Santos.

The suspension of Barnabas Bese forced Hungary into changes, and they chose to shuffle the pack against their illustrious visitors.

Portugal were imposing from the opening moments, and Ronaldo meant business as he fired from range with venom.

The Real Madrid icon watched as his shot was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Portugal's Bruno Alves (C) vies with Hungary's Tamas Priskin (R) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Hungary and Portugal in Budapest on September 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK        (Photo credit should read AT
ATTILA KISBENEDEK/Getty Images
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Coentrao was forced out of the game midway through the first half, clearly in discomfort as he received treatment for injury.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men as Tamas Priskin was shown a straight red card for an elbow on Pepe on the half-hour mark, with the crowd objecting to the referee's decision.

Portugal attempted to turn the screw in the minutes before half-time, but they became less affective as they searched for the opener.

Hungary opted to give a physical display against a talented Portugal side, and their roughhouse tactics kept the game goalless at half-time.

Squawka News highlighted Pepe's injury after feeling the impact of Priskin's blatant elbow:

There was joy for the visitors just three minutes after the restart as Silva headed home Ronaldo's cross.

Silva arrived at the far post, with Ronaldo lofting the ball out of reach of Gulacsi, allowing the AC Milan striker the chance to bundle his effort home.

The goal settled Portugal, and Ronaldo's intimidation was clear as Hungary leaned against the ropes.

Portugal played at walking pace in the final 20 minutes, attempting to force the hosts to come out and expose the territory behind them.

However, Hungary refused to budge, and a stalemate in the action took over the match.

Football writer Tom Kundert highlighted Portugal's superiority:

Ronaldo's shot deflected over the bar in the final minutes, but the game was already dead as a spectacle, with Hungary folding with a whimper.

The victory was Portugal's seventh in qualifying, but they remain in the shadow of group leaders Switzerland.