Lisbon, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed a scoring world record on Wednesday when his late brace, after missing an early penalty, gave him a tally of 111 international goals and lifted Portugal 2-1 over Ireland in a World Cup qualifier.
Ronaldo, 36, broke a tie on 109 goals with Iran’s Ali Daei with an 89th-minute header into the bottom right corner for the equalizer. He then also nodded the winner in Faro six minutes into stoppage time, dpa reports.
Success came after Ronaldo wasted a first big opportunity when his 15th-minute penalty was saved by goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.
Ireland led from John Egan on the stroke of half-time but Ronaldo’s brace then put Portugal top of their qualifying group with 10 points, three clear of Serbia who were not playing on the night.
Ireland suffered a third defeat in as many games and are on zero points alongside Azerbaijan who lost 2-1 in Luxembourg.
Only the group winner advances directly to the 2022 finals in Qatar.
“I’m so happy, not just because I beat the record, but for the special moment that we had. “Two goals at the end of the game is so tough, I have to appreciate what the team did, we believed until the end. I’m so glad,” Ronaldo told Irish broadcasters RTE.
Looking at the penalty, he added: “It’s part of the game, part of the business. Sometimes you score, sometimes you make a mistake.”
Ronaldo, whose transfer from Juventus to his former club Manchester United was completed on Tuesday, was playing in his 180th international. Daei had scored his 109 goals in 149 appearances between 1993 and 2006.
Ronaldo tied with Daei at the recent Euro 2020 tournament thanks to a brace against France and did not net again there as Portugal went out 1-0 in the next game against Belgium.
At the tournament he became the first man to score at five Euros, the all-time event top scorer with 11 goals and Euro 2020 top marksman with five goals.
He scored his first Portugal goal at Euro 2004 in a 2-1 defeat against Greece.
Ronaldo is also the Champions League top scorer with 134 goals.
Source: Bahrain News Agency