Ronaldo scores hat-trick as Portugal close in on Euro 2020 spot.
The reigning European champions remain second in Group B, a point better off than Serbia – 3-2 winners over Luxembourg – ahead of the final round of qualifying fixtures.
Lithuania lost 5-1 in the reverse fixture and, as was the case in Vilnius two months ago, Ronaldo opened the scoring with a seventh-minute penalty after being caught by Saulius Mikoliunas.
Visiting goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus did well to keep out Paciencia but Ronaldo had doubled his tally with 22 minutes gone, bending in a first-time shot from the edge of the box.
Ronaldo was denied the chance to score a first-half hat-trick by referee Ruddy Buquet, who initially pointed to the spot following a challenge on Ricardo Pereira, only to overturn his decision following a brief discussion with one of his assistants.
However, Fernando Santos’ team made certain of the three points seven minutes into the second half through Pizzi’s angled shot that went in via both the crossbar and the post.
Paciencia slotted home a fourth goal after Setkus fumbled Silva’s cross and the Manchester City playmaker added another to the tally seven minutes later with a low finish.
Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with another curled finish, this time low into the net, though he missed a glorious chance to add another to his tally when firing over from in front of goal.
What does it mean? Holders remain on course
Portugal’s defeat to Group B winners Ukraine last month – ending an unbeaten run that stretched back to the 2018 World Cup – left them in direct competition with Serbia for second spot.
Santos’ men turned on the style in Faro, however, and will now be guaranteed a place in next year’s finals with victory in Luxembourg this weekend.
Ronaldo closing in on another milestone
Ronaldo’s consolation goal in Kiev four weeks ago saw him reach 700 for club and country. After his latest international hat-trick, he is now within two of hitting a century for Portugal. So much for a fading force, right?