PORTUGAL moved a step closer to Euro 2020 qualification thanks to yet another Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass.
The Juventus forward brushed aside a bad week at his club to bag a hat-trick on Thursday night as his side eased past Lithuania by six goals to nil.
But it was his smartly curled second and powerfully finished third that moved him within touching distance of a century of goals for Portugal.
Now on 98 strikes from 163 caps, the 34-year-old still has a great shot as surpassing Ali Daei’s record 109 international goals.
The Iranian may have netted mostly past the likes of Bahrain, Lebanon and Qatar but Ronaldo is only up against Luxembourg on Sunday in what is also a vital game for his country’s tournament progression.
With Ukraine already guaranteed Group B’s top spot, Portugal need to avoid any slip-ups at Stade Josy Barthel to ensure they hold out third-place Serbia.
But as the Nations League winner, Fernando Santos’ side are at least guaranteed a place in the play-offs.
Their hopes of not needing that route were boosted with a seventh-minute spot-kick on Thursday night.
Ronaldo was felled on the six-yard line and duly smashed the ball home, adding his second later in the first-half.
Four strikes in 14 minutes after the break – from Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia, Bernardo Silva and Ronaldo again – secured the rout.