Euro 2024 qualifying: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates 200th cap with winner, Moldova makes stunning comeback

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late winner on his 200th international appearance as Portugal beat Iceland 1-0 on Tuesday to maintain its perfect start to Euro 2024 qualifying.

Erling Haaland netted twice for Norway, while Belgium brushed aside the Thibaut Courtois captaincy controversy by seeing off Estonia thanks to a Romelu Lukaku double in Tallinn and Moldova came from two goals down to stun Poland.

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The 38-year-old Ronaldo steered in from close range in the 89th minute for his 123rd Portugal goal on a night he also extended his men's international caps record in Reykjavik.

"For me it's an unbelievable achievement, it's amazing. And of course to score the winning goal, it's even more special," Ronaldo told "We didn't play so well but sometimes football is like that," added Ronaldo, who made his international debut at 18 in August 2003. But we scored a goal and, in my opinion, we deserved it. I'm so happy because of 200 caps, but this is even more special."

Ronaldo received a bouquet of flowers and a certificate to commemorate the landmark occasion, the latest in a long list of records for the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star.

Having scored twice in each of Portugal's qualifiers in March, albeit against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, Ronaldo failed to find the net in last week's 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He was repeatedly caught offside against Iceland and headed narrowly over at corner early in the second half. But he again silenced those who have doubted coach Roberto Martinez's wisdom in calling him up, grabbing the winner after Iceland was reduced to 10 men with Willum Thor Willumsson sent off.

Goncalo Inacio knocked the ball across for Ronaldo to turn home in the 89th minute, with the goal initially ruled out for offside before the decision was overturned and the Portugal captain was mobbed by his team-mates.

Portugal is already cruising towards a place at next year's European Championship in Germany, sitting top of Group J after scoring 14 goals without reply in four straight wins.

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Courtois had said he was "surprised" that Coach Domenico Tedesco told a press conference he had refused to travel to Estonia after being overlooked for the stand-in captaincy last week.

Tedesco had wanted to hand Lukaku the armband for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Austria and give Courtois the honor in Tallinn, with regular captain Kevin De Bruyne absent.

But with Courtois instead back home, Lukaku was named skipper again and responded by scoring two goals in a 3-0 success which helped Belgium stay second in Group F.

Austria remained three points clear in first place, albeit having played a game more than Belgium, as Christoph Baumgartner scored twice in the last 10 minutes to clinch a 2-0 win over Sweden.

The Scandinavians are in danger of failing to reach a Euro tournament for the first time since 1996, sitting four points behind Belgium.

Haaland's brace helped Norway bounce back from its dramatic defeat by Scotland at the weekend with a 3-1 victory against Cyprus.

That kept Norway's slim hopes of reaching a first major tournament since 2000 alive, although it only sits third in Group A and just one point ahead of Spain having played two games more than the three-time champions.

Group leader Scotland was not blown off course by a near two-hour interruption caused by heavy rain as they maintained their 100 percent record with a 2-0 win over Georgia.

Callum McGregor scored in the sixth minute in farcical conditions before the game was suspended.

A number of field inspections then took place amid reports that Georgia wanted the game postponed before it eventually restarted at 9:35 pm local time and Scott McTominay secured the points.

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Poland fell to fourth place in Group E after blowing a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Moldova in Chisinau.

Moldova, which had won only one of its last 43 Euro and World Cup qualifying matches, appeared to have been safely dispatched by first-half goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski.

But Ion Nicolaescu's double left Poland reeling and Vladyslav Baboglo, who plays his club soccer for Ukrainian team Oleksandriya, headed past Wojciech Szczesny to score a dramatic 85th-minute winner.

Moldova, 171st in the FIFA rankings, is now third in the group standings, a point behind second-placed Albania which saw off the Faroe Islands 3-1.

Hungary moved top of Group G by cruising past Lithuania 2-0, level on points with Serbia after its 1-1 draw with Bulgaria.


© Agence France-Presse

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