A first-half hat-trick from Cardinal helped Portugal to a comfortable 5-1 victory over Libya in their opening Group C game of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012.
It took the Europeans just four minutes to break the deadlock when Cardinal fired home from an acute angle. Libya levelled two minutes later through Ahamed Fathe’s rising shot from outside the box, but parity was short-lived.
In fairness, the Africans were not helped by an injury to forward Rabia Abdel, but sloppy passing allowed Portugal to be on the front foot for most of the half, with Ricardinho and Arnaldo pulling the strings.
Cardinal tapped the ball in from close range to make it 2-1 in the 16th minute and completed his hat-trick just two minutes later when he combined well with Arnaldo before slipping the ball past the keeper.
Portugal continued from where they left off at the start of the second half, Nandinho scoring a beauty from outside the area. The scoring was completed in the 29th minute when a long ball from the keeper was headed home by Marinho.
The only cloud on the horizon for Portugal was an injury to Cardinal who had to be taken off following a nasty collision with Libya keeper Yousef Bensaed. They will be hoping that he recovers in time for the clash with Japan on Sunday.
“We played a good first match in the tournament. It’s always important to start well. Now we have to look forward to the next match against Japan, which is going to be very hard,” Portugal coach Jorge Braz.