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Ronaldo on target as Portugal keeps pace with Switzerland

Cristiano Ronaldo headed home twice as Portugal kept pace with Switzerland in its Football World Cup qualification group on Friday.

Ronaldo on target as Portugal keeps pace with Switzerland
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Cristiano Ronaldo

It took until the closing stages of the first half before Ronaldo opened the scoring against Latvia which lost 0-3. But he played a starring role from that point on. The Real Madrid winger had felt aggrieved with the way that he was targeted by the Latvian defence in the early stages of the match and called on the referee to take action. 

But he soon got back to doing what he does best as he stooped low to head home at the back post in the 41st minute, as his run went unnoticed by the defence. It was the same scenario in the second half as Ronaldo found himself unmarked inside the six-yard box and was able to head the ball into an empty net.

He had the chance for a hat-trick just minutes later - but passed up the opportunity to finish. In Group B, Switzerland remain on top after beating the Faroe Islands 2-0, thanks to its stars Granit Shaka (36) and Xerdan Shaqiri (59), and is three points ahead of Portugal, the reigning European champion. 

France complicated its task of ensuring automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup in Russia after falling to a dramatic 2-1 defeat in Sweden.

Sweden snatched victory with an Ola Toivonen goal from the half-way line in extra time after a poor clearance from France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The freak goal sent the massed ranks of yellow clad fans in Stockholm into a wild frenzy, but more importantly with four games to go it sent Sweden atop Group A, level on 13 points with France. 

Only the winner of each group is guaranteed a place at next year’s finals in Russia.

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