Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored another treble, moving closer to 100 international goals.
The Juventus star led the European champions to a 6-0 drubbing of Lithuania in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Thursday.
This was Ronaldo’s ninth Portugal hat-trick, with seven of those coming since his 30th birthday. That takes him to within 11 goals of Iran legend Ali Daei world-record 109.
The European champions, however, were left waiting to secure a place at the finals after Serbia beat Luxembourg 3-2.
Portugal are in second place with 14 points. They are one ahead of Serbia and will qualify if they win in Luxembourg on Sunday. Leaders Ukraine have already qualified.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) November 14, 2019
Ronaldo showed no sign of the knee problem which led to him being substituted in his last two games for Juventus. He could easily have reached a century of goals on Thursday.
Coach Fernando Santos declared that he never had any doubts about Portugal’s most-capped player.
“I asked him if he was okay to play, it was just a case of having a conversation with him. I never had any doubts about his condition,” he said.
The Portugal captain scored an early penalty before curling in a second. Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva scored before the latter set up Ronaldo for his third.
If Portugal beat Luxembourg on Sunday, they will qualify for next summer’s European Championship.