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Draw specialists Portugal beat Poland on penalties

Draw specialists Portugal beat Poland on penalties

India Blooms News Service | | 01 Jul 2016, 09:56 am
Marseille, July 1 (IBNS) Portugal may still not have won a UEFA EURO 2016 game in 90 minutes, but they held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out to deny Poland and reach the semi-finals.

A night of pain for the Polish fans had looked so much brighter just a minute and 40 seconds into the game, when a high ball caught out Portugal right-back Cédric to allow Kamil Grosicki in behind. The Rennes wide-man rolled across for Lewandowski, who finished instinctively for his first goal of the finals.

The match as it happened and all the reaction
Lewandowski scores second-quickest EURO goal
UEFA EURO 2016 final tournament schedule

Poland understandably redoubled their defensive efforts, and with Cristiano Ronaldo shackled, it was down to one from a new generation of Portuguese talent to level proceedings. Renato Sanches, identified as a key player ahead of the match, showed neat footwork to gain space before rifling left-footed past Łukasz Fabiański via a slight deflection.

Where Lewandowski and strike partner Arkadiusz Milik were lively in the first half, they rarely threatened in the second. Ronaldo, at the other end, was eager but ineffective, twice fluffing his lines in great positions in the box. José Fonte and Pepe both wasted headed opportunities as Portugal sought a winner in normal time but again they were held come full-time, and so an additional 30 minutes ensued.

Portugal had beaten Croatia in extra time in the last 16, and Ronaldo again failed to connect from close range in the opening exchanges. Subsequently it was Poland who threatened more, but there would be no further scoring.

Poland won their last-16 tie against Switzerland in a shoot-out but, after seven perfect penalties, Rui Patricio dived to his left to brilliantly keep out Poland's fourth kick from Jakub BÅ‚aszczykowski. That left Ricardo Quaresma to smash in and seal Portugal's progress.

Man of the match: Renato Sanches