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Quaresma snatches extra-time win for Portugal

Quaresma snatches extra-time win for Portugal

India Blooms News Service | | 26 Jun 2016, 09:19 am
Lens Agglo, June 26 (IBNS) : Substitute Ricardo Quaresma turned in a rebound three minutes from the end of extra time as Portugal edged a tense encounter with Croatia to book a UEFA EURO 2016 quarter-final date with Poland.

After 116 minutes in which the teams failed to muster a single shot on target, Ivan Perišić headed against the upright. Portugal immediately broke through Renato Sanches and he supplied Nani to drill a low ball across the box to Cristiano Ronaldo. Danijel Subašić made the initial save but could only parry Ronaldo's strike as far as Quaresma who headed in from point-blank range.

Caution had been the watchword for much of this last-16 tie in Lens, with both sides digging in throughout. Croatia strung together their pretty passing, with Marcelo Brozović and Luka Modrić to the fore, but there was little penetration or urgency. Even less so for Portugal, fully paid-up members of the waiting game.

Yet it was Fernando Santos's team who came closest in a cagey first half as Raphael Guerreiro delivered a tantalising free-kick that Pepe, five metres out and unmarked, nodded wastefully over. His reaction, head in hands, said it all. The attrition resumed. Who would blink first?

The second period started like the storm after the calm. On came Sanches, injecting impetus for Portugal, and Croatia responded in kind. Suddenly there were half-chances here, half-chances there. Three-quarters of one, perhaps, when Domagoj Vida headed wide with Mario Mandžukić better placed behind him.

Nerves crept in again, defensive care stamped out any green shoots of attacking abandon. By 116 minutes we were still waiting for the first attempt on target ... then Portugal broke.


Man of the match: Renato Sanches (Portugal)