Cristiano Ronaldo took a selfie with one pitch invader and embraced another as he scored another hat-trick, moving closer to 100 international goals and helping Portugal edge closer to qualification.
Ronaldo, whose hat-trick was the 55th of his career and ninth for Portugal, has 98 goals and could become only the second player to score a century for his country after Iran’s Ali Daei.
Juventus forward Ronaldo was a surprise starter after being substituted before the hour in his club’s last Serie A outing against AC Milan, but he showed no signs of fatigue as he reached 98 goals for his country.
Portugal lost 2-1 to Ukraine last month but were comfortable winners at Estadio Algarve on Thursday, with Goncalo Paciencia, Pizzi and Bernardo Silva also on target for the hosts.
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.