Lithuania 1-5 Portugal: Ronaldo scores four as Setkus blunders

Lithuania goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus was guilty of a goalkeeping howler as four-goal Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal to victory.

With Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo's early penalty having been cancelled out by Vytautas Andriuskevicius before half-time, Setkus was guilty of a blooper when he fumbled a strike from the Juventus striker to again hand this year's Nations League winner the advantage.

With Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo's early penalty having been cancelled out by Vytautas Andriuskevicius before half-time, Setkus was guilty of a blooper when he fumbled a strike from the Juventus striker to again hand this year's Nations League winner the advantage.   -  Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four to take his international tally to 93 goals as Portugal claimed a 5-1 win over Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on a night to forget for goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus.

With Ronaldo's early penalty having been cancelled out by Vytautas Andriuskevicius before half-time, Setkus was guilty of a blooper when he fumbled a strike from the Juventus forward to again hand this year's Nations League winner the advantage.

Ronaldo soon added two more before William Carvalho added a late fifth to seal the win over Group B's bottom side.

Second-placed Portugal moved within five points of leader Ukraine, with which it has a game in hand, with the victory.

I'm happy and enjoying this moment

Ronaldo is "enjoying this moment" after scoring four times. The 34-year-old was happy for his team after the huge win lifted Portugal's spirits.

"I'm having a good time, but the team was doing very well too," Ronaldo told reporters.

"I am happy and enjoying this moment, not because I scored the goals, but because of the level we have been able to demonstrate in recent years.

"It is up to me to continue helping the national team."

READ: France 3-0 Andorra: Les Bleus triumph despite another Griezmann penalty miss

Ronaldo feels Portugal – in second spot and holding a game in hand – is closing in on a place at next year's showpiece tournament.

"The hardest thing was winning in Serbia, and it was important to continue with a triumph here," he said.

"We are closer, we have two games – one at home and one away – and I think if we win one of those matches it's enough."

The visitor got off to the perfect start when it was handed a seventh-minute penalty after Markus Palionis was penalised for blocking Joao Felix's cross with his hand.

Ronaldo made no mistake as he kept his cool from the penalty spot, firing low into the bottom-right corner to add to the goal he scored in Saturday's win over Serbia.

100

Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo   -  Francois Nel/Getty Images

 

Portugal continued to look a threat and Jose Fonte and Ronaldo both saw efforts saved by Setkus.

And the reigning European champion was left rueing those missed chances in the 28th minute when Andriuskevicius rose highest to head Mantas Kuklys' outswinging corner in off the post.

Cristiano Ronaldo clearly world's best player – Santos

A five-time Ballon d'Or winner among numerous other honours in a remarkable career, Ronaldo's standing in the game is often debated alongside Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

But Portugal boss Santos has no doubt as to who the best player in the world is following another memorable display.

ALSO READ: Cristiano Ronaldo breaks Euro qualifying goal record

"This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world," Santos said following the Euro 2020 qualifying rout away from home.

"There is no stadium in the world where Ronaldo is not applauded," Santos added. "He is the best in the world.

"We went to Paris in my first game, and the hotel in France was just across the street. There were a thousand people at our door."

Santos continued: "I think it's strange when he doesn't score. They say it is ending ... Nothing is ending. You have to be careful because it never ends."

Then, somewhat inevitably, it fell to Ronaldo to turn the match back in Portugal's favour once more - but he had more than a helping hand from Lithuania goalkeeper Setkus.

What appeared a routine strike from Ronaldo from the edge of the area with 61 minutes on the clock was fumbled by the goalkeeper before spinning up and bouncing in off his back.

Ronaldo then made certain of the points four minutes later when he swept home Bernardo Silva's right-wing delivery before the pair combined again in the 76th minute, with the ex-Real Madrid player finding the bottom-right corner from inside the box. 

Carvalho added further gloss in added time with a smart finish after the ball fell kindly to him inside the penalty area.

ALSO READ: England 5-3 Kosovo: Sancho and Sterling star in Group A thriller

What does it mean? Portugal has fate in own hands but still has work to do

They might be the reigning champion and winner of the Nations League but Portugal still has work to do to seal automatic qualification.

This win keeps it second but leader Ukraine remains in charge of the group and Serbia, in third, trails it by just a point.

Ronaldo still the man

It should come as no real surprise. Another season ticks by and, even now at 34, still Ronaldo continues to be the man for club and country.

Joao Felix might be the heir apparent but Ronaldo remains the one who makes Portugal tick.

Sympathy for Setkus 

The Lithuania goalkeeper is unlikely to make a bigger blunder in his career. It was just unfortunate it came on the international stage.

He should not, however, be the scapegoat for what, in all likelihood, was an inevitable loss anyway - and the score would have been even higher but for a string of saves he made.

What's next?

Portugal faces Luxembourg in what will be viewed as another must-win match, while group leader Ukraine - which also faces the Euro 2016 winner in October - awaits Lithuania.

  Dugout videos