Cristiano Ronaldo converted one penalty, missed another and also scored from open play as Portugal beat Latvia 4-1 in their World Cup qualifier. Ronaldo had put his side ahead from the spot just prior to the half-hour mark, but the Real Madrid star hit the post with a second spot-kick eight minutes before Latvia – which had lost back-to-back games against the Faroe Islands and Hungary – scored its surprise leveller.
It looked a costly miss when Arturs Zjuzins equalised for Latvia in the 68th minute but William Carvalho headed Portugal back in front two minutes later, Ronaldo volleyed the third and Bruno Alves completed the win.
Portugal stayed second in Group B with nine points from four games, three behind leaders Switzerland.
The Real Madrid forward, who signed a new five-year contract at the Bernabeu last week, had given the hosts the lead in Faro after converting a first-half penalty.
But he missed his second spot-kick before Latvia struck back through Arturs Zjuzins, only for William Carvalho and Bruno Alves to score either side of a Ronaldo volley to secure a 4-1 win.
Ronaldo – level with Gerd Muller and Robbie Keane in the all-time European standings with 68 international goals – hit the crossbar with a header before Alves nodded in Raphael Guerreiro’s cross to add some gloss to the scoreline and ensure a welcome three points in Portugal’s quest to reach Russia 2018.
After being restricted to long-range shots, Portugal broke the deadlock when Nani was tripped by Gints Freimanis and Ronaldo fired low to Andris Vanins’ right in the 28th minute.
Portugal won another penalty when Glebs Kluskins tripped Andre Gomes in the 58th minute but this time Ronaldo, who also missed a penalty in the Euro 2016 match against Austria, saw his shot hit the inside of the post and roll across the goal.
But midfielder Carvalho came to the rescue two minutes later when he headed his first international goal from Ricardo Quaresma’s cross.
A clumsy challenge from Kluskins on Gomes gave Ronaldo the chance to score a second spot-kick after 58 minutes, but his low strike rattled Vanins’ right-hand post before deflecting off the goalkeeper’s back and out of play.
Another Quaresma cross led to the third as it found Ronaldo at the far post and Portugal’s all-time leading scorer volleyed home his 68th international goal.
Ronaldo then missed an easy chance for his hat-trick from Renato Sanches’ pass and also headed against the crossbar before Alves headed in Raphael Guerreiro’s chipped cross at the far post.
FULL TIME: Portgual 4-1 Lativa