Ronaldo treble sees Portugal into Nations League final

Ronaldo treble sees Portugal into Nations League final

Written on 06/05/2019

Portugal 3-1 Switzerland

Portugal have booked their place in the UEFA Nations League final courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, as Portugal left it late to down Switzerland 3-1 at the Estádio do Dragão.

In his first Nations League appearance, a Ronaldo free-kick placed Portugal ahead before a second-half spot-kick from Ricardo Rodriguez dragged the Swiss level.

A late double-salvo from Ronaldo in the face of extra time tipped the balance back in Portugal’s favour, however, with the Seleção now awaiting either England or the Netherlands in Sunday’s final. Before deciding who to back in the final, visit Bookies Bonus.

Initially, attentions were drawn to João Félix’s first international cap for Portugal, with the Benfica man’s Primeira Liga co-star, Bruno Fernandes, also nailing a spot alongside William Carvalho and Rúben Neves in Fernando Santos’s XI.

Switzerland started positively to increase the nerves in Porto, reaching Rui Patrício’s goal through Xherdan Shaqiri early on prior to the ex-Sporting man’s stop in the 3rd minute, denying the Swiss talisman from a tight angle.

At the other end, Manuel Akanji was handing Portugal a prime chance to score in his bid to play out from the back, with the ball eventually falling to Ronaldo before a horrible slice wide of the mark. 

The Juventus man was less forgiving the second time around, in spite of an apparent fair Kevin Mbabu challenge that enabled Ronaldo to arrow a free-kick into the bottom-right corner in the 25th minute, putting Portugal a goal up.

Haris Seferovic came close to levelling the game on the brink of half-time, reacting first to a pull-back before stroking onto the top of the crossbar. Félix also had a look in, as Ronaldo spotted the youngster’s run in behind, but the 19-year-old could do little more than volley over with pressure from Rodriguez emerging, keeping the score at 1-0 going into the break.

VAR intervenes

In a penalty-dominated start to the second half, Bernardo Silva saw a clear foul on him inside the box over-ruled, via the use of the VAR, for a spot-kick at the other end, as the faintest of touches from Nélson Semedo brought Steven Zuber down inside the Portugal box.

A specialist from 12 yards, Rodriguez was quick to step up from left back and convert for the Swiss, dragging his penalty just under Patrício for the equaliser in the 57th minute.

With the game entering a more cagey phase, Ronaldo emerged to stun the visitors late on with Portugal’s second in the 87th minute, firing a Bernardo Silva cut-back first-time past a well-beaten Sommer.

The Seleção skipper wasn’t done there, leaving Akanji for dead in the 89th minute before cutting inside and curving a strike on his right foot for goal number three, cementing Portugal’s spot in Sunday night’s Nations League final.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Raphael Guerreiro, Rúben Dias, Pepe (José Fonte, 63’), Nélson Semedo - William Carvalho, Rúben Neves, Bruno Fernandes (João Moutinho, 90’)- Cristiano Ronaldo, João Félix (Gonçalo Guedes, 69’), Bernardo Silva

Switzerland XI: Yann Sommer - Ricardo Rodriguez, Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schär, Kevin Mbabu - Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Remo Freuler (Josip Drmic, 88’) - Steven Zuber, Haris Seferovic, Xherdan Shaqiri

Goals:

[1-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo (25’)

[1-1] - Ricardo Rodriguez (57’)

[2-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo (87’)

[3-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo (89’)