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Ronaldo rescues Portugal in Hungary thriller

Ronaldo rescues Portugal in Hungary thriller

| | 23 Jun 2016, 12:57 pm
Lyon, Jun 23 (IBNS) Portugal will join Group F winners Hungary in the round of 16 after Cristiano Ronaldo averted disaster with a historic double to earn his side third place in a pulsating 3-3 draw.

Making a record 17th UEFA EURO finals appearance, the Real Madrid forward had cut a frustrated figure in his first two outings, and his mood was hardly improved by the first goalscoring instalment of a frenetic match. Zoltán Gera delivered it, fizzing a low half-volley beyond Rui Patrício after collecting a half-cleared corner on his chest.

It was an excellent strike for a team already through, but Nani levelled close to half-time thanks to Ronaldo's exquisite, effortless through ball. With both defences looking vulnerable, an already thrilling game then became a spectacularly open one after the interval, Balázs Dzsudzsák firing Hungary back in front from a deflected free-kick.

Portugal were heading home again, until Ronaldo became the first player to score in four separate editions of this tournament – and with trademark panache, meeting João Mário's cross with a back-heeled flick. Still Hungary were not done, and it was Dzsudzsák who put them ahead once again another deflected effort.

The last word nevertheless belonged to Ronaldo, who rescued the Portuguese for a second time by nodding in. That made it five goals in 21 minutes, and, once the dust had settled, Portugal were facing a meeting with Croatia; Hungary will play the Group E runners-up on Jun 25.

Man of the match: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

 

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