Nations League round-up: Ronaldo extends goal tally, Haaland,Gavi score
- Ronaldo added to his record goal tally
- He scored twice in four first-half minutes
- Gavi opened his Spain account at age 17
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his world record-extending 116th and 117th goals for Portugal on Sunday. Erling Haaland got his 17th and 18th at a faster rate for Norway. Gavi opened his Spain account at age 17.
After scoring twice in four first-half minutes, Ronaldo missed two more good chances before halftime, had a goal disallowed for a late offside flag and forced Swiss goalkeeper Gregor Kobel into two good saves late in a lopsided League A game between World Cup-bound teams in Lisbon.
It’s now 117 goals in 188 international games for the 37-year-old Ronaldo heading to his fifth World Cup in November. Portugal is in a group with South Korea, Uruguay and Ghana.
Erling Haaland has 18 goals in 19 games for Norway after scoring twice in a 2-1 win at Sweden in League B to show why the 21-year-old forward might be the biggest talent missing in Qatar.
There was a first international goal for teenage Gavi in an eighth international game for Barcelona’s latest midfield prospect, and Spain drew 2-2 at the Czech Republic in League A.
Gavi’s curling left-foot shot between two defenders in first-half stoppage time in Prague leveled a fourth-minute opener for the Czech Republic by Jakub Pešek.
The Czechs led again when Jan Kuchta scored in the 66th with an audacious chip over advancing goalkeeper Unai Simon. Spain drew level, again late, when Inigo Martinez’s 90th-minute header was checked to have crossed the goal-line.
Portugal now leads top-tier Group 2 with four points after drawing 1-1 at Spain on Thursday.
Switzerland has now lost three games and drawn one in 2022 and it gets no easier hosting Spain and Portugal in Geneva next week.
The Swiss had an apparent goal ruled out early on, for a handball spotted on video review, before Portugal led in the 14th. William Carvalho reacted to a loose ball after Kobel parried Ronaldo’s free kick that was deflected.
Ronaldo scored with an emphatic shot when the ball was laid back to him by Diogo Jota, then pounced on a close-range rebound after Kobel saved from Jota.
Two prolific scorers were on the mark in Group 4 for leader Norway and second-place Serbia.
Haaland, whose penalty beat Serbia on Thursday, scored again from the spot in the first half at Sweden. He extended the lead in the 69th, advancing to score with an angled shot.
Serbia won 4-1 against visiting Slovenia, and Aleksandar Mitrović opened the scoring midway through the first half. It was a 45th international goal in 73 games for the 27-year-old Fulham forward.
Mitrović’s previous goal for Serbia was in November when his 90th-minute winner in Portugal sent Serbia to the World Cup and put Ronaldo and his teammates into the playoffs.
Serbia is in a World Cup group with Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon.
LEAGUES C AND D
Greece leads third-tier Group 2 after a second straight 1-0 win for coach Gus Poyet’s team, this time at Kosovo. In the same group, Cyprus drew 0-0 with Northern Ireland.
In Group 4, Georgia leads with six points after winning 5-2 at Bulgaria. North Macedonia trails Georgia by two points after its 2-0 win at Gibraltar.
There was one game Sunday in the seven-nation tier in League D. Malta won 2-0 at San Marino.