Six-goal Portugal dash Bosnian hopes
A double from Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal to an emphatic 6-2 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second leg of their UEFA EURO 2012 play-off tie as they secured their place at next year's finals.
The 26-year-old's brace - a stunning 35-yard first-half free-kick and then a slick finish in the 53rd minute -saw him equal Luis Figo's tally of 32 international goals. Ronaldo's performance also silenced many who had questioned his performances for the national side as opposed to his club form for first Manchester United and then Real Madrid.
For Bosnia it was a miserable night with Senad Lulic sent off just after Ronaldo's second goal for dissent and as it was the second successive time they came up short against the Portuguese in a play-off for a major finals, having also lost out in the race for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualification.
After a goalless first leg, Ronaldo looked to have sent the hosts on their way to a comfortable win when he broke the deadlock in the sixth minute with a superb free-kick which curled over the wall and into the net.
His strike was almost bettered before half-time by team-mate Nani as the Manchester United star produced a 35-yard effort which flew past Asmir Begovic into the top right corner to make it 2-0. The visitors showed great resilience in reducing the deficit as Zvezjdan Misimovic converted a second-half penalty following a Fabio Coentrao handball.
Ronaldo then restored the two goal advantage, firing home after running on to a brilliant slide-rule pass by Joao Moutinho, and the visitors looked down and out as Lulic was red carded at the same time.
However, once again they responded positively, and created some nervousness among the hosts, as Emir Spahic fired home. But the Portuguese finally killed off their opponents when veteran Helder Postiga converted from just inside the box.
Miguel Veloso added a fifth with just over ten minutes remaining with another stunning free-kick and the poor Bosnians were now being run ragged with Postiga heading home a sixth from the impressive Coentrao's cross.