Portugal shoot past Poland

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  • Post published:June 30, 2016

Portugal have sensationally qualified for the semi-finals of Euro 2016 following a dramatic penalty shootout win over Poland.

Poland got off to the best possible start as Robert Lewandowski ended his barren run for the Poles with a decisive finish after great work down the left by Kamil Grosicki. The goal came after just two minutes of action.

Portugal did not drop their heads following the shock goal and Cristiano Ronaldo smashed an effort at goal from a volley in the 10th minute, only for his effort to be blocked.

Portugal was looking dangerous as they probed in and around Poland’s penalty area before Arkadiusz Milik fired a shot off target on the counter. Lewandowski then did well to work another shot in the 17th minute, but it was comfortably saved.

Milik had another effort from range following a counter attack before they almost worked a chance following an exquisite interchange of quick passes.

Ronaldo had another crack from range after 28 minutes following a quick turnover of possession, but the shot was comfortably saved. Ronaldo then had a penalty appeal turned down following a clattering off the ball piece of body play in the box.

Then, with 33 minutes gone, 18-year-old rising star Renato Sanches fired home with a deflected ranged effort to draw Portugal level at 1-1. The scores remained level at half-time.

The second-half began with Poland playing the more spirit football as they worked a scoring chance for Lewandowski with a diving header in the 48th minute.

Nani crafted a chance for Portugal in the 55th minute as he played in Ronaldo, who uncharacteristically completely wasted the chance, firing into the side netting.

Portugal worked another chance as Cedric Soares fired a shot from range, but the effort flew narrowly wide with 64 minutes gone.

Jose Fonte was then afforded the next chance off a corner, but the Portuguese were unable to direct his header. Then, with just minutes remaining, Ronaldo evaded the offside trap only to completely miss his shot, wasting the chance. It proved the final effort of regulation time, but with the scores still level after another 30 minutes, penalties ensued.

In the end, it was Portugal who prevailed in the shootout with Jakub Błaszczykowski missing the crucial penalty.

Photo: Reuters