Cristiano Ronaldo completed his third straight hat-trick in as many games for club and country as Portugal came from behind to defeat Armenia in the Euro 2016 Group I qualifier in Yerevan, according to UEFA’s official website.
In the 14th minute Armenia were ahead, thanks to Marcos Pizzelli’s superb free-kick from around 25 metres out to get Sargis Hovsepyan’s first game as coach off to a deceptively fine start.
The visitors were level 15 minutes later. Henrikh Mkhitaryan brought down João Moutinho in the box and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the penalty.
Just before half-time Armenia goalkeeper Roman Berezovski pulled off a good stop from Fábio Coentrão. Howvber, Armenia were holding their own and in the 54th minute Pizzelli shot just over.
There was a sting in the tail, though, as Ronaldo ran on to a Ricardo Carvalho clearance and snuck in ahead of Robert Arzumanyan to chip the ball in over Roman Berezovski and increase his record number of UEFA European Championship goals to 25.
It did not take him long to make it 26, the Portugal captain superbly controlling Rui Patrício’s clearance, turning and beating Berezovski from distance. Soon after Portugal were down to ten men, Tiago receiving a second booking for a foul on Artur Sarkisov.
With 20 minutes left Armenia had a lifeline, Hrayr Mkoyan pouncing after Patrício could only parry a shot from substitute Aras Özbiliz. Portugal held out with comfort though.