Portugal came out on top against Azerbaijan with a 1-0 win in what was a hard-earned victory for the Selecao on matchday 1 of the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Reigning European champions Portugal won the Euro 2016 and followed it up by winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League. 

The Selecao got the job done in the end and made a winning start to their qualifying campaign as they edged past a really stubborn Azerbaijan.

It was hard for Portugal to break the Azerbaijani defence and the side had to be patient on the ball. Cristiano Ronaldo failed to have any impact on the game in what was a frustrating night for the Portuguese captain.

It was an own goal that led to Portugal’s victory, which was probably deserved but very unfortunate for Azerbaijan as goalkeeper Shahrudin Mahammadaliyev hit the ball onto defender Maksim Medvedev, which deflected into his own net.

Ronaldo game the closest to scoring when his overhead kick attempt went just over the crossbar. His freekick was also deflected wide and the Azerbaijani keeper Mahammadaliyev kept out a strong shot by the legend.

Ronaldo is just 7 behind all-time leading international scorer Iranian Ali Daei, who has 109 goals and by the time he hangs up his boots, you’d think Ronaldo will hold the record for most international goals.

Mahammadaliyev also made a couple of top saves to deny Manchester United‘s Bruno Fernandes and Atletico Madrid‘s Joao Felix from adding to the lead.

Portugal feature in Group A alongside Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg. The Portuguese will be one of the top teams in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will want to secure qualification as early as possible.

Serbia will be the only team that may potentially pose a significant threat to the Selecao and the Irish will need some of their luck to topple over the European champions.