Cristiano Ronaldo was without a goal, as Portugal needed an own goal to beat Azerbaijan 1-0 in Group A of the World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
The winner in the 36th minute came after Azerbaijani goalkeeper Shahrudin Mahamadaliev tried to break the ball out of the zone and it bounced into the net of captain Maxim Medvedev.
Ronaldo’s fruitless night left him seven goals to become the best national team goal scorer of all time. The record of 109 goals is held by the former striker of Iran Ali Daei, the only other male player who has surpassed the milestone of 100 goals for the national team.
Ronaldo came close to scoring several times from free kicks. He will get other chances to get closer to the record when Portugal visits Serbia on Saturday and Luxembourg on Tuesday.
The match took place in Turin, Italy, where Ronaldo is playing against Juventus, due to the situation with the coronavirus in Portugal.
Azerbaijan has won only one of its last nine World Cup qualifiers – against San Marino in 2017. It has lost seven times in this series.
In the other Group A match, Alexander Mitrovic came off the bench to score a pair of goals in the second half when Serbia came from behind to beat Ireland 3-2 in Belgrade.
Alan Brown scored Ireland’s first goal in the 18th, and James Collins added the second in the 86th. Dusan Vlahovic put Serbia on the board in the 1940s.
The result left Ireland coach Stephen Kenny without a win in his first nine matches, responsible for a team trying to reach the World Cup for the first time since 2002.