It didn’t take long for Cristiano Ronaldo to give Portugal the boost it needed in European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Ronaldo scored twice in the first four minutes, then added two others in the second half, to help the European champion rout nine-man Andorra 6-0 on Friday and earn its first win in qualifying.
Ronaldo did not play in the 2-0 loss to Switzerland in the Group B opener in September because he was still recovering from a knee injury sustained in the final of Euro 2016.
The Swiss scored a late winner in a 3-2 to win at Hungary to win their second in a row and take the group lead with six points, two more than the surprising Faeroe Islands, which followed its draw at Hungary with a 2-0 victory over Latvia.
Portugal and Latvia have three points each, with Andorra staying with zero.
Only the group winners automatically qualify.
In Aveiro, Ronaldo made his presence felt early, scoring with a left-footed shot from inside the area in the second minute and adding to the lead with a header in the fourth. His third came with a one-timer from close range, and the fourth with another left-footer.
In Budapest, Switzerland twice relinquished leads but held on after Valentin Stocker’s 89th-minute goal in Budapest, securing the group lead as Switzerland won 3-2 over Hungary.
In Latvia, the Faeroe Islands followed its surprise draw against Hungary with a 2-0 win at Latvia behind goals by Sonni Nattestad in the first half and Joan Edmundsson in the second.
In Paris, on a cold evening at Stade de France, France beat Bulgaria 4-1 as the hosts enjoyed most of the ball possession.
In Rotterdam, Quincy Promes scored his first two international goals and striker Vincent Janssen rediscovered the scoring touch that has deserted him in the English Premier League as the Netherlands beat Belarus 4-1.