Ronaldo powers Portugal into Euro 2016 final
Updated: 2016-07-07 07:08
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Portugal and Wales, at the Grand Stade in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, France, July 6, 2016. [Photo/IC]
Wales, without suspended Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, were soon exposed at the back. In just three minutes Fernando Santos' side doubled the lead.
Ronaldo, the first player in history playing in three Euro semifinals, delivered a low drive from 25 meters and Nani stretched to turn the ball home past a wrongfooted Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey.
The 31-year-old almost made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute, but his freekick from 30 meters dipped over the wall and flew over the cross bar.
His performance kept inspiring the whole team until the last moment when he raced onto a long pass and rounded Hennessey, but the angle was tight and his effort hit the sidenet.
His Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale tried hard in search of a goal throughout the match but could not creat miracles despite making some impressive runs. In the 22nd minute, he got the ball inside his own half, took a touch and then just pulled away, leaving three men in his wake. He ran to the edge of the box and lashed a shot straight at Portugal keeper Rui Patricio.
Wales, who came back from one goal down to beat world second-ranked Belgium in the quarterfinals, will still return home with pride since this was just their first appearance in major tournament in 58 years.
Ronaldo consoled Bale with a hug after the final whistle amid singing from the Wales fans, who refused to leave the stadium although their team's tremendous journey had ended.