| | 0 Comment| 10:44 am

Manchester United attacker Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to add to his tally for Portugal in their final two World Cup 2022 qualifiers as they lost out to Serbia in Group A of the first round as far as the European section is concerned. Portugal were in pole position to finish as Group A winners and seal automatic qualification for Qatar 2022 as a result. In the end, Portugal lost top spot to Serbia after a record of just one point from their final two group matches and they will have to do things the hard way via the playoffs if they want to be one of the 32 teams at the World Cup tournament billed for the end of next year.

In the first of the final two games, Cristiano Ronaldo was largely kept quiet as hosts Republic of Ireland were able to secure a goalless draw with the immediate past European champions.

For the final game, Fulham striker AleksandarMitrovic scored on the stroke of full-time via a header from a DusanTadic free-kick to help Serbia overcome an early deficit to seal their place in Qatar. Serbia secured automatic qualification from Group A with a 2-1 comeback win at the expense of their hosts, Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates started the game against Serbia well with Lille midfielder Renato Sanches getting the first goal of the game as early as the second minute. However, they could not build on the fast start as Serbia took the initiative to attack the home team and get the win needed to qualify for the World Cup tournament next year. Ajax Amsterdam star Tadic scored the equaliser for Serbia on 33 minutes to pave the way for the dramatic winner from Mitrovic in the final minute of the game.

At the end of the qualifying campaign in Group A, Serbia won the group with 20 points from eight games, while Portugal finished second with 17 points from eight games.

Ronaldo couldn’t add to his tally of six goals in the qualifiers.