Portugal edge into Euro16 semis

Jul 1, 2016 - 2:59 AM Teenage sensation Renato Sanches once again stole the show from a subdued Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal beat Poland 5-3 on penalties to reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

After keeper Rui Patricio dived full length to block Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski's penalty, substitute Ricardo Quaresma - whose goal late in extra-time beat Croatia in the round of 16 - slammed home Portugal's fifth in the shootout to seal the win after scores had finished 1-1 after extra time.

Two hours earlier, Robert Lewandowski put Poland ahead with a second minute strike only for 18-year-old Sanches to equalise with a superb shot 33 minutes into his first international start.

In doing so, Sanches - who recently completed a move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich - became the youngest player to score in a knockout stage game at the Euros.

Portugal, beaten on penalties by Spain in the semi-finals four years ago, advanced to the last four at the Euros for the fourth time in five tournaments, and will face either Belgium or Wales for a spot in the final.

"(The goal) was an amazing moment. I'm happy to be man of the match again, but the individual comes after the team," said Sanches, who also scored the second shootout penalty.

Ronaldo, who four years ago did not get to take his planned spot kick when he was fifth in line as Portugal lost to eventual winners Spain, went first this time.

Joao Moutinho and Nani also scored confidently from the spot before Patricio swung things Portugal's way with his fine save and Quaresma applied the coup de grace.

Poland had converted all five of their penalties in knocking out Switzerland in the last round, also after a 1-1 draw, but could not repeat the feat.

"The players put a lot of heart into this match and played bravely throughout this tournament and this defeat hurts," said Poland coach Adam Nawalka.

"We haven't lost a match at the tournament - we were knocked out on penalties. We've moved forward - this tournament has proved that. We played some very good football but this defeat hurts."

Poland went ahead when Portugal defender Cedric's misjudgment allowed a long ball to bounce over his head to Kamil Grosicki. He drove on down the left and squared for Lewandowski to guide the ball in.

It was the striker's first goal of the tournament and, at one minute 40 seconds, the second-fastest in European Championship history after Dmitri Kirichenko's for Russia against Greece after 65 seconds in 2004.

The Portuguese levelled when Sanches played a neat 1-2 with Nani and found time to shift the ball onto his left foot at the edge of the box and smash it past Lukasz Fabianski.

Source: AAP

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