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June 13, 2015

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick gave 10-man Portugal a 3-2 win at Armenia in a 2016 European Championship qualifier on Saturday.

Marcos Pizzelli scored from a free kick for Armenia in the 14th minute, but Ronaldo converted a penalty to level before the half-hour mark

The Ballon d'Or holder then added two more goals in the 55th and 58th to secure victory and keep Portugal top of Group I.


Portugal's Tiago Cardoso was sent off with a second yellow card in the 62nd, and Hrayr Mkoyan scored the hosts' second goal 10 minutes later.

Portugal tops the group with 12 points, while Armenia was left in last place with one.

Denmark, second with seven points, hosts Serbia later. Albania also has seven points with a game to play.

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Armenia went ahead through their only shot on target in the first half when midfielder Pizzelli struck home a free kick from 25 meters (yards) out.

But Ronaldo didn't waste his chance to pull the visitors level in the 28th, firing in a penalty kick after Henrikh Mkhitaryan fouled Joao Moutinho.

Portugal toiled the rest of the way to halftime and only mustered a shot by Fabio Coentrao, which was saved by goalkeeper Roman Berezovski a minute before the interval.

Ronaldo then scored two more — the second goal coming from outside the box— to give Portugal the cushion it needed after Mkoyan scored a rebound from Rui Patricio's save.

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