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Cristiano Ronaldo's crusade to reach in a fifth World Cup moved a step closer to reality as Portugal scraped past Turkey but not without a serious scare on Thursday night. The Portuguese seemed to be coasting through when they went two goals up in the first half, courtesy of Diogo Jota and Otavio. But Burak Yilmaz pulled one back for the Turks and was presented with a golden chance to equalise from a penalty, in the 85th minute.

Yilmaz missed the target and Matheus Nunes went on to snatch Portugal's third in the final seconds as the visitors threw players forward with an air of desperation. Goals and personal glory eluded Ronaldo on this occasion but his team moved into the final of the Path C play-off, back in Porto on Tuesday.

Portugal, present at every major tournament since 1998, only surrendered their grip on direct qualification for Qatar in stoppage time of their final qualifier when Aleksandar Mitrovic condemned them to a last-gasp defeat and Serbia won Group A.
Much of that particular inquest swirled around Ronaldo but boss Fernando Santos was unflinching in his support going into this play-off. The 37-year-old Manchester United striker led his nation out in Porto, his 185th international cap, and the early offensive revolved around him.
Ronaldo lashed his first chance high over and then tested Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir from distance. Between these attempts, Diogo Jota missed the goal from close range as he slid to connect with a free-kick whipped across from the right by Bruno Fernandes.
For all this Premier League talent on display, it was Porto's Brazil-born Otavio who soothed Portuguese nerves in the 15th minute, pouncing to squeeze in a rebound after Bernardo Silva's low drive was tipped onto the inside of a post and fizzed out across goal.