Ronaldo on target as Portugal beats Panama 2-0

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FARO, Portugal (AP) -Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 36th international goal and Nelson Oliveira scored his first as Portugal beat Panama 2-0 in a friendly game Wednesday.

Ronaldo span around on the edge of the area and fired a half-volley past Jaime Penedo in the 51st minute after Panama midfielder Gabriel Gomez was sent off for elbowing Joao Moutinho.

Oliveira, viewed as one of Portugal's up-and-coming players for the 2014 World Cup, put the host ahead in the 30th with a left-foot shot on his first start.

Portugal's dominance was never in doubt at the Algarve Stadium in southern Portugal, though Panama striker Edwin Aguilar occasionally rattled the home team's defense.

Coach Paulo Bento made six changes to the team that lost in a penalty shootout against Spain in the semifinals of the European Championship in June.

The match marked the start of Portugal's preparations to qualify for the World Cup. Portugal is in qualifying Group F for the tournament in Brazil. It will face Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

With a one-man advantage Portugal was rarely troubled, though it squandered a series of chances to extend its lead, with Ronaldo, Ruben Micael and Hugo Almeida guilty of poor finishing while Nani hit the goal frame. At the other end, Alberto Quintero forced a reflex save from goalkeeper Beto in the 67th.

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Lineups:

Portugal: Eduardo (Beto 60), Miguel Lopes, Rolando, Ricardo Costa, Fabio Coentrao, Joao Moutinho (Carlos Martins 73), Raul Meireles (Miguel Veloso 72), Hugo Viana (Ruben Micael 45), Nani, Nelson Oliveira (Hugo Almeida 60), Cristiano Ronaldo (Silvestre Varela 60).

Panama: Jaime Penedo, Luiz Henriquez, Felipe Baloy, Roman Torres, Gabriel Gomez, Jean Cedeno, Alberto Quintero (Ricardo Buitrago 80), Nelson Barahona (Juan de Gracia 78), Marcos Sanchez, Juan Perez, Edwin Aguilar (Rolando Blackburn 74).

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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