Euro 2016: Ronaldo inspired Portugal reach final after 2-0 win over spirited Wales
The 31-year-old helped his side book a place in the final of UEFA EURO 2016
Ronaldo delivered when it mattered and inspired Portugal to a 2-0 win over Wales to book a place in the final on Sunday for the first time since Euro 2004. Ronaldo scored the opener just after half-time and then set up Nani for the second as Wales’ incredible run came to an end
Portugal (4-1-3-2 formation): Rui; Soares, Carvalho, Fonte, Eliseu; Carvalho; Mario, Sanches, Silva; Nani, Ronaldo
Wales (3-5-1-1 formation): Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Ramsey, Taylor; Bale; Robson-Kanu
Portugal hadn’t won a game in 90 minutes this whole tournament and some of their attacking play had been criticized for lack of quality. Ronaldo was yet to deliver apart from the one game against Hungary. Renato Sanches had been a revelation for his team.
Gareth Bale has been of the stars in the tournament but Aaron Ramsey had also played a crucial part in his team’s incredible run. But with him suspended all Welsh hopes would once again rest with the winger.
Wales had the first shot on target. Gareth Bale went one one of his powering runs, cut inside onto his left foot and made an angle for himself but his effort from 25 yards out was straight at Rui Patricio.
Portugal looked lackluster as Wales looked the more threatening. Fernando Santos’ men were once again lacking that cutting edge in the final third. The first half ended goalless as both teams looked to up the ante in the second half.
After a blunt first 45, everyone expected the game to go into extra time but Portugal suddenly burst into life in the second half. In the 49th minute, Guerrero whipped in a wonderful cross and Ronaldo used his ability to hang in the air and power the ball into the back of the net.
But the 31-year-old wasn’t done yet. A couple of minutes later they doubled their lead. Ronaldo took a shot from outside the box on the left and Nani was alert to turn his mistimed effort towards goal beating Wayne Hennesey at his near post.
Wales had no choice but to chase the game and that stretched their defence. Portugal could have made it 3-0 too with a little over 10 minutes to play. Bale lost the ball near his own box and Danilo charged into the area and powered a shot which almost crept under the keeper but he managed to claw it back just in time.
As the referee blew the full time whistle the Portuguese fans and players erupted in celebration. Will it finally be their tournament?