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Penalty joy for Portugal

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Poland 1-1 Portugal (AET, 3-5 on pens): Ricardo Quaresma scores decisive spot-kick

Portugal are the first team into the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after beating Poland 5-3 on penalties in Marseille.

Ricardo Quaresma’s spot-kick sealed glory in the penalty shoot-out after a tense quarter-final had finished 1-1 after extra-time with both goals coming in the first half; Renato Sanches cancelling out Robert Lewandowski’s second-minute opener.

After seven perfect penalties in the shoot-out Rui Patricio’s save from Jakub Blaszczykowski proved crucial in ending Poland’s dreams of reaching the last four.

And despite a night of personal frustration for Cristiano Ronaldo, he and his team-mates have now set up a clash with Wales or Belgium in Lyon on Wednesday.

It was a long night in Marseille, but there was an explosive start, as Poland’s star striker Lewandowski, who had not found the net in four previous matches at Euro 2016, needed just one minute and 40 seconds to open the scoring.
Portugal defender Cedric Soares allowed a long ball to bounce over his head, which offered Kamil Grosicki time and space to deliver a low cross from the left, which Lewandowski gleefully guided home from near the penalty spot to score the second-fastest goal in European Championship history.
Ronaldo found his range on 29 minutes with a grass-cutter from 30 yards, but was left punching the turf in fury a minute later when he wasn’t awarded a penalty after a clumsy – and blatant – push from Michal Pazdan.

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However, Portugal’s players and supporters were punching the air with delight on 33 minutes when Sanches equalised with a memorable first goal for his country.

The 18-year-old ran at the Poland defence before exchanging a pass with Nani and drilling a left footed shot into the corner of the goal via a deflection off Grzegorz Krychowiak.
The new Bayern Munich signing, making his first start of the tournament, stole the limelight from Ronaldo, who was seeking the goal that would see him equal Michel Platini’s record of nine at European Championships.

And his personal frustrations continued after the break as he drilled into the side-netting from a tight angle and failed to connect with Nani’s low cross inside the six-yard box.
And after Artur Jedrzejczyk almost steered Pepe’s pass beyond his own goalkeeper, Ronaldo wasted another chance late on when he failed to connect with Joao Moutinho’s lofted ball into the area when clean through on goal.

Both sides needed extra-time in their last-16 matches and an extra 30 minutes was required once again after an edgy second-half short of goalmouth action.

But Ronaldo’s luck didn’t change in extra time as he again failed to get a good connection on a dangerous Sanches cross.
Few clear chances were created after that and the tie laboured to a penalty shoot-out.

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Ronaldo got Portugal off to the perfect start by sending Fabianski the wrong way before Lewandowski responded in kind for Poland.

Sanches, Moutinho and Nani all scored from the spot with Arkadiusz Milik and Kamil Glik responding for the Poles before Blaszczykowski saw his effort palmed away by the dive of Rui Patricio to his left.

And that gave Quaresma the chance to rifle the fifth spot-kick into the roof of the net to spark wild celebrations and seal Portugal’s fourth European Championship semi-final in five tournaments – even though they have not won any of their five matches in France inside 90 minutes.

Teams

Poland: Fabiankski, Piszczrk, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski (Jodlowiec, 97), Grosicki (Kapustka, 82), Milik, Lewandowski.

Portugal: Rui Patricio, Pepe, Fonte, Ronaldo, Mario (Quaresma, 80), W Carvalho (Danilo, 96), Sanches, Nani, Eliseu, Soares, Adrien Silva (Moutinho, 74).

Man of the Match: Renato Sanches

Source:Skysports

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