Euro 2016 qualifier: Cristiano Ronaldo nets three as Portugal defeat Armenia 3-2

Portugal tops the group with 12 points, while Denmark remained second on 10 after beating Serbia 2-0.

By: Associated Press | Yerevan | Published:June 14, 2015 1:45 pm
Portugal, Portugal Armenia, Armenia Portugal, Portugal Euro 2016, Euro 2016 Portugal, Football News, Football The treble took Ronaldo’s competition record to 26 goals. (Source: AP)

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick gave 10-man Portugal a 3-2 win at Armenia in a 2016 European Championship qualifier on Saturday.

Marcos Pizzelli scored from a free kick for Armenia in the 14th minute, but Ronaldo converted a penalty to level before the half-hour mark.

The Ballon d’Or holder scored twice more in the 55th and 58th to secure victory and keep Portugal top of Group I. The treble took Ronaldo’s competition record to 26 goals.

Portugal’s Tiago Cardoso was sent off with a second yellow card in the 62nd, and Hrayr Mkoyan scored the hosts’ second goal 10 minutes later.

“An oddly difficult victory? No. We knew that we would face a good team,” Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho said. “Fortunately we have a player like Cristiano, who can decide the match at any moment.”

Portugal tops the group with 12 points, while Denmark remained second on 10 after beating Serbia 2-0.

Serbia and Armenia were left at the bottom of the group with one point each. Albania was third with seven points and a game to play.

Armenia went ahead through its only shot on target in the first half when midfielder Pizzelli struck home a free kick from 25 meters (yards) out.

But Ronaldo didn’t waste his chance to pull the visitors level in the 29th, firing in a penalty kick after Henrikh Mkhitaryan fouled Moutinho.

Portugal toiled the rest of the way to halftime, and mustered only a shot by Fabio Coentrao, which was saved by goalkeeper Roman Berezovski a minute before the interval.

Ronaldo then scored two more — first chipping Roman Berezovski before hitting from long range— to give Portugal the cushion it needed after Mkoyan scored a rebound from Rui Patricio’s save.

In Copenhagen, Yussuf Poulsen got his first international goal to put Denmark ahead in the 13th.

Daniel Agger missed a spot kick for Denmark in the 34th, but substitute Jakob Poulsen sealed the win over Serbia three minutes from time.

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