Ronaldo scores 100th international goal in Portugal's Nations League win over Sweden

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a dipping set-piece effort just before halftime to join Ali Daei, who netted 109 times for Iran, on a century of goals.

Ronaldo has set his sights on Daei's record of 109 international goals following a double in Portugal's win away to Sweden that saw him reach 101 goals for his country since his debut in 2004.   -  Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo rattled home a superb first-half free kick to become only the second male player to score 100 international goals as Portugal outclassed 10-man Sweden 2-0 in their Nations League A Group 3 game on Tuesday.

Portugal's captain scored with a dipping set-piece effort just before halftime to join Ali Daei, who netted 109 times for Iran, on a century of goals.

The 35-year-old was a constant threat to Sweden's back line in the early exchanges, hanging on the shoulder of the last defender before bursting forward to beat the offside trap, but Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen was equal to the task.

That all changed when Gustav Svensson received his second yellow card and was sent packing after a reckless challenge on Joao Moutinho on the edge of his own box just before halftime.

Ronaldo stepped up and smashed a dipping effort beyond the despairing dive of Olsen and just under the crossbar before breaking into a wide smile as he celebrated with his team mates.

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Sweden was struggling to contain the visitors and Ronaldo struck again in the 73rd minute with another curling, dipping effort, this time from open play, to leave himself just eight goals short of Daei's international scoring record.

Portugal's Joao Moutinho credited the Swedes for making it difficult for them early on, but that all changed with the dismissal of Svensson.

"Of course the red card was good for us, we tried to circulate the ball to find spaces, and happily we scored two great goals from Ronaldo," he said.

With two wins from two games Portugal top Group 3, ahead on goal difference of France, which beat Croatia 4-2, with the Swedes third and the Croatians bottom.

France meets Portugal in a top-of-the-table clash in Paris on Oct. 11, while Croatia hosts Sweden on the same date.

 

Century done, Ronaldo eyes Daei's record

Ronaldo has set his sights on Daei's record of 109 international goals following a double in Portugal's win away to Sweden that saw him reach 101 goals for his country since his debut in 2004.

Having missed Portugal's Nations League opener against Croatia on Saturday with a toe injury, Ronaldo wasted no time on his return, scoring a first-half free kick and adding a second from open play in the 72nd minute to close in on Iranian Daei's record.

"I managed to beat this milestone of 100 goals and now (I'll go) for the record. It's step-by-step. I am not obsessed because I believe the records come in a natural way," Ronaldo said.

"When I had this problem in my toe I always knew that I could recover for this second game. I like to be here, with this group of players, coach, staff and knew that they would play well in the first game as our squad is too good and no one is irreplaceable," added the 35-year-old.

Having netted five times in his previous encounters against the Swedes, only a fool would have bet against him writing more history in the Swedish capital.

"Yesterday he scored six or seven (free kicks) like that in training and today it went exactly the same way. It's so good to have Cristiano on the team," Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes said.

Ronaldo forced another fine save from keeper Robin Olsen before leaving the fray in the 81st minute to be replaced by Diogo Jota, his thoughts moving quickly on to his next task.

"The future, only God knows. I am happy to play with these young players and I am enjoying a lot this moment both individually and collectively," he said.

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