Portugal are through to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, with Poland crashing out after a hard-fought clash in Marseille on Thursday evening that went all the way to a penalty shoot-out.Goals from Robert Lewandowski and Renato Sanches saw the contest go into extra-time, before Ricardo Quaresma scored the winning penalty to secure the Selecao’s passage into the next round.
Poland drew first blood, with Lewandowski finally announcing himself in the competition with the second-fastest goal ever scored at a European Championship.After one minute and 40 seconds, the Bayern Munich striker was able to steer home a lovely finish from close range, after a neat cut-back from the left-hand side by Kamil Grosicki.
Cristiano Ronaldo was frustrated twice early on for the Selecao, before 18-year-old midfield sensation Sanches drew Portugal level on 33 minutes.The Bayern teenager let fly with his left foot, with a wicked deflection taking the ball into the bottom corner, which proved to be justice after Ronaldo was denied a stone-wall penalty three minutes earlier.Just after the hour mark, it looked as though Cedric Soares had put the Selecao into a 2-1 lead, but the Southampton right-back’s shot arrowed just beyond the top-left corner.
Artur Jedrzejczyk clipped a cross into a near-post area for Poland 10 minutes later, but Milik was only able to direct a tame effort within Patricio’s grasp.Portugal then almost had the help of Jedrzejczyk in finding a winner, with a deflection off the Polish defender sending a stabbed Pepe pass narrowly wide of Fabianski’s right-hand post.Five minutes from the end of the 90, Ronaldo had the best chance of the second half, but the Real Madrid star could only kick thin air when trying to guide home a dropping ball from 10 yards out.
Portugal continued to press at the start of extra-time, with Ronaldo rushing another close-range effort, as two tired outfits traded weary blows, before Milik responded with a poor strike from the edge of the box.As the clock ticked over the 100-minute mark, Lewandowski rolled a beautiful ball across the six-yard box, but Milik couldn’t get there in time to apply a close-range finish, before the Selecao answered in the form of Nani firing straight down Fabianski’s throat.
Neither side could find a winner during the additional half an hour, meaning that once again Poland’s players and fans alike were subjected to a penalty shoot-out.Both Ronaldo and Lewandowski netted their spot-kicks, with Rui Patricio then pulling out a fantastic save to deny Jakub Blaszczykowski.
It was left to star substitute Quaresma to come up with the goods once again, as the maverick forward clipped home a penalty finish to ensure that Fernando Santos stay in the hunt for silverware, but it won’t get much more tense than that.- Fact sheet:1 (3)- Poland: Fabianski; Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krichowiak, Maczynski (Jodlowiec 98′), Grosicki (Kapustka 82′); Milik, Lewandowski.1 (5)- Portugal: Rui Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu; Joao Mario (Quaresma 80′), William Carvalho (Danilo 96′), Renato Sanchez, Adrien Silva (Moutinho 73′); Nani, Ronaldo.Goals: 1-0, 2′: Lewandowski; 1-1, 33′: Renato Sanches.Penalty shootout: 0-1: Ronaldo, goal. 1-1: Lewandowski, goal. 1-2: Renato Sanches, goal. 2-2: Milik, goal. 2-3: Joao Moutinho, goal. 3-3: Glik, goal. 3-4: Nani, goal. 3-4: Blaszczykowski, missed. 3-5: Quaresma, goal.Referee: Felix Brych (Germany). Yellow cards: Jedrzejczyk, Glik, Kapustka, Adrien Silva, William Carvalho.Stade Velodrome (Marseille): 62.940.