Ronaldo stars for Portugal
A virtuoso performance from one Real Madrid player helped Portugal overcome the loss of another as they eventually saw off 10-man Cyprus to stay at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group H.

The build-up to the game at the NEO GSP Stadium was overshadowed by the sudden international retirement of Ricardo Carvalho, but his club team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand to deliver three points anyway.

Ronaldo, who opened the new Primera Division season with a hat-trick against Real Zaragoza last weekend, transferred his club form to his country with a first-half penalty after Sinisa Dobrasinovic was sent off, and then wrapped things up to move level with Nuno Gomes as his country`s fourth-highest all-time goalscorer.

He also laid on a third for Hugo Almeida and, although Danny added a fourth, Paulo Bento`s men could have had double that amount were it not for Cyprus goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides.

Considering the gulf between the two sides, it was surprising that it took Portugal as long as eight minutes to register an effort on goal, with Helder Postiga hitting wide from outside the box.

The pace remained pedestrian and Joao Pereira gave Georgallides something to do with a long-range strike, before Ronaldo did his best to get things moving, also from distance.

If something was going to happen, it seemed likely the Madrid man would be at the heart of it, but he was just an onlooker as Georgallides clawed Pepe`s header round the post, before Chelsea new boy Raul Meireles nodded wide from inside the box.

His domestic form meant Ronaldo was carrying some confidence into the game and his header worked Georgallides again, before he scored the opener with 36 minutes gone from the spot.

Sinisa Dobrasinovic brought down Postiga in the box earning him a second yellow card, and Ronaldo did the rest with some ease, taking his international tally to 28.

Cyprus` task was always going to be difficult enough with a full compliment of players, and Ronaldo reminded them that they had more than a half remaining as he wrapped a free-kick into their wall from 25 yards.

Joao Moutinho then went close, before Georgallides, the only Cyprus player to accrue any real credit, got his fingertips to Postiga`s effort just before the half-time break.

Georgallides, who plays for AC Omonia, was certainly the star of the show and his one-man barrier kept out Ronaldo again after the restart, with the forward`s club team-mate Fabio Coentrao then denied by the post.

Nani was then foiled by Georgallides who must have been wondering where the help was from his team-mates, but they did manage to tighten things up until Ronaldo put the seal on things with eight minutes left.

He took in Nani`s pass and nonchalantly finished, before Almeida took in a ball from the man of the moment to add a third as Cyprus and Georgallides finally crumbled.

Danny`s goal in injury time, a neat effort after a Moutinho tee-up was a harsh reflection on the stopper but, with his team-mates unable to offer anything, the result was more than fair.
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