Ronaldo had not trained - Santos explains Cristiano omission

Lynette Rowe
October 9, 2017

Had Portugal failed to win, Switzerland would have won the group and qualified directly for Russian Federation, leaving the European champions to go into a two-legged play-off.

Andorra has been an irrelevant team in this Group B of the qualifiers, now fifth with four points and a goal differential of negative 15.

At the end of the first half, the Portuguese coach Fernando Santos chose to landed Real Madrid man to the ground and his decision was proved right. These two teams belong to the Group B. The game will kick-off at 7:45 PM BST on October 7.

The 21-year-old hitman was the star of the show as Portugal earned a 2-0 victory away to Andorra.

The Real Madrid superstar thrived on the pressure by scoring his 15th goal of the qualifying campaign to draw level with Poland's prolific Robert Lewandowski 18 minutes after his introduction, poking in a Joao Mario cross from close range.

"I thought hard, I pondered", Santos said when asked about the exclusion of Ronaldo from the starting line-up.

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But it was inevitably Ronaldo - who had scored 96 goals in his 100 competitive games since the start of 2016 for club and country - who made the difference for the visitors. In 63rd minutes of the game, Ronaldo took control of the ball just outside of the box and took the lead of the game very carefully.

"I tried to administer the situation and do what was best".

Portugal chartered a specially adapted air-force plane to fly to an aerodrome near the stadium and avoid the three-hour coach journey that most teams have to face. In the first half, we lacked momentum.

With Switzerland maintaining their ideal record by winning 5-2 at home to Hungary, Portugal - who have confirmed a play-off place at least - will have to beat the Group B leaders in Lisbon to snatch top spot.

"I had to bring on Ronaldo at halftime and in the end, we won the way we wanted to".

It was also Ronaldo's 79th goal for his country, lifting him up to joint-third in the all-time list of global goalscorers, and he came close to extending his tally further with a long-range strike in the final five minutes which needed to be saved.

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