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HomefootballBruno Fernandes shines as Portugal thrash Luxembourg in record 9-0 win

Bruno Fernandes shines as Portugal thrash Luxembourg in record 9-0 win

BARCELONA – Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has urged his men to continue the good work, as Bruno Fernandes ran the show in their 9-0 win over Luxembourg on Monday without suspended all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese have now won all their six Euro 2024 qualifying games, without conceding a single goal while scoring 24, with their largest-ever victory.

They lead the Group J standings, five points clear of second-placed Slovakia, whom they beat in Bratislava last Friday.

Luxembourg are third, three points behind Slovakia.

“For us, it’s a starting point, but we need to continue working,” said Martinez. He had replaced Fernando Santos after the Qatar World Cup last December.

“The group have continuity, always put in spectacular effort and that allows them to create history.

“The players deserve to make history and have moments like today. Today’s result is the result of very hard work.”

Manchester United playmaker Fernandes, who scored Portugal’s winner against Slovakia, laid on three goals and also scored one himself at the Algarve Stadium near the country’s south coast.

Goncalo Ramos, Diogo Jota and Goncalo Inacio had two goals each, while Ricardo Horta and Joao Felix also netted.

“We are still at the beginning of a new era with a new coach and we are still taking on board the coach’s ideas,” said Jota.

“Today, we set a reference point (to look at in) the future.”

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Sporting Lisbon defender Inacio sent the hosts ahead in the 12th minute with a header from Fernandes’ exquisite cross with the outside of his foot.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Ramos drilled home the second six minutes later, after Fernandes pressed high to win the ball back.

The 22-year-old striker then grabbed another goal in the 33rd minute with a clever turn and clinical finish for his sixth goal in eight appearances for his country.

Inacio headed home his second goal from another Fernandes cross on the stroke of half-time and Jota struck early in the second half for the fifth, set up by the Red Devils midfielder again.

Portugal thrashed Luxembourg 6-0 in their first clash in the Grand Duchy and Horta rifled home from the edge of the box for their sixth of the night to match the haul.

Jota, who set up Horta, slammed home the seventh as Portugal continued pushing on without remorse.

Fernandes subsequently capped his virtuoso display by netting the eighth.

That matched their previous best win, 8-0 on three occasions, but substitute Felix struck a superb ninth from the edge of the box to set Portugal’s new mark.

“We have a great group of players. We take every game very seriously,” said Horta.

“We’re on the right track, but we have things to improve. Against Slovakia we played a game that was not at the level this team (can offer).”

Martinez’s side can qualify for Euro 2024 on Oct 13 if they beat Slovakia and Luxembourg fail to beat Iceland. AFP

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