Roberto Martinez, the head coach of Portugal, heaped praise on superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after the latter scored the game-winning goal for his team in a Euro 2024 qualifying match against Slovakia on Friday. Martinez called Ronaldo, who is 38 years old, a “reference point for young players.”
Portugal advanced to the Euro 2024 tournament thanks to a 3-2 victory over Slovakia that took place in Porto on Friday. Ronaldo scored twice to lead Portugal to the victory.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is having a great time, playing a lot of minutes and scoring a lot of goals for his club,” said Portugal coach Martinez. “Cristiano Ronaldo is having a great time.”
“He has a lot of experience with the national team and he’s a reference point for young players.”
The Portuguese made it seven victories out of seven in Group J thanks to a penalty kick scored by Ronaldo in the first half and a tap-in scored by him in the second half. They are guaranteed to finish in the top two thanks to their 21 points.
Slovakia is now in second place, eight points behind Luxembourg and two points ahead of the opponent they will face on Monday.
Ramos scored the opening goal for Portugal in the eighth minute when he jumped up high to meet Bruno Fernandes’ cross and headed the ball past Martin Dubravka, who was in goal for Slovakia. Portugal’s strong start helped them beat Slovakia.
It was Ramos’ seventh goal in just nine games, and Fernandes’ sixth assist of the season. Fernandes came close to doubling the scoring in the 26th minute, but Dubravka made a fantastic save with one hand to save it. Ramos now has seven goals in just nine games.
After three minutes, the conclusion that Denis Vavro had handled the ball illegally was affirmed by the video assistant referee (VAR).
Ronaldo scored his 124th goal for Portugal in the same stadium where he scored his very first goal for his country’s national team, which was against Greece in the opening game of the 2004 European Championship.
David Hancko’s shot from beyond the area rebounded off Antonio Silva’s heel and into the bottom corner in the 69th minute, giving Slovakia a chance to get back into the game. This was the first goal that Portugal had allowed an opponent to score against them in qualifying.
Three minutes later, Ronaldo scored goal number 125 by tapping in another exquisite cross from Fernandes. This time, he regained the two-goal lead that had been lost.
However, with ten minutes remaining, Stanislav Lobotka fired a shot from outside the penalty area and buried the ball in the top corner of the goal, bringing the game back into play.
Diogo Jota had a golden opportunity to win it for Portugal late in the game, but the great Dubravka made a save. Regardless, the hosts had already done enough to ensure that they would qualify for the Euros.
“We won the match with a very good first half,” Martinez stated after the encounter.
“The most important thing was how it turned out. We have displayed the ideal mentality throughout all seven of our games. I could not be happier, but this is only the beginning.”