Euro 2016: Portugal beat Poland on penalties

Euro 2016: Portugal beat Poland on penalties

Coach Adam Nawalka opted not to tinker with a starting eleven that had gotten Poland further than ever in its history in a European Championships. His counterpart Fernando Santos did opt for some changes, including the introduction of 18-year-old midfield wunderkind Renato Sanches. Bayern Munich rated him highly enough pay Benfica a 35-million-euro transfer fee to bring him in next season. The night in Marseilles started with some Polish fireworks. In the second minute, Cedric misjudged a long Lukas Piszczek pass, and the ball fell to Kamil Grosicki. He squared it for Robert Lewandowski, and the Bayern striker fired in his first goal of tournament to give Poland an early lead. Poland continued to put together passes and win challenges, although they failed to generate clear looks at Portugal’s goal, and gradually the Portugese climbed back into the match. In minute 33, Sanches played a one-two with Nani in the Polish area and hammered in the equalizer. The ball slightly deflected off Grzegorz Krychowiak, leaving keeper Lukasz Fabianski no chance. The score was all knotted up at halftime. After the break, the teams were in cagier mode, each team fearing a conceded goal could be a decider. The first real chance was a screaming shot by Cedric just after the hour mark, but it was slightly wide. Poland responded around seven minutes later, but Arkadiusz Milik couldn’t get anything behind a promising cross.
Lewandowski finally scored but it wasn’t enough to get Poland through to the semis
Ten minutes from time, defender Artur Jedrzejczek almost decided the outcome with a poked reverse clearance that was centimeters from becoming an own goal. And five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo was finally sent through, but he failed to get his foot to what looked like an easy ball. The game went to extra time – a fair result after 90 minutes in which Portugal had held…

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