Christiano Ronaldo and Portugal end Wales dream

Portugal are through to their second final in a major tournament after goals from Ronaldo and Nani gave them a 2-0 win over Wales.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating after scoring the opening goal during their UEFA EURO 2016 semi final match against Wales
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating after scoring the opening goal during their UEFA EURO 2016 semi final match against Wales

Portugal controlled possession in the early stages of the match and created their first chance on the 16th minute. Ronaldo slipped the ball towards Mario, who dragged a shot wide of Hennessey’s far post from just inside the penalty area.

Wales responded three minutes later when from a corner, Bale took the ball and sprinted towards the near post. The Real Madrid star opted for a strike at goal that went high behind Patricio.

Bale went close again on the 23rd minute when he won possession into his penalty area before sprinting almost the entire pitch. However, his final shot was straight at the Portuguese goalkeeper who saved it comfortably.

Wales improved their play considerably and created another good opportunity on the 25th minute. Robson-Kanu whipped in a cross to the near post that was met by King, whose header was deflected of Fonte and out for a corner.

Ronaldo responded for Portugal one minute before half time. Silva cut back onto his right foot before curling a ball from the left towards the far post. Ronaldo managed to jump above Chester to head the ball, but his header went high and wide.

Portugal improved further during the second half and went in front on the 50th minute. Guerreiro delivered a cross that found Ronaldo, who sent a thumping header past the Welsh goalkeeper to become the highest scorer in European Championships history together with Michael Platini.

Nani doubled the score for Portugal three minutes later. Ronaldo’s low shot from atop the penalty area was chased down by the Fenerbache player who redirected the ball behind Hennessey to make it 2-0 for the Portuguese side.

On the 62nd minute, Ronaldo was inches away from scoring Portugal’s third goal. The Real Madrid forward tried his luck from a freekick, and saw his effort going off the top of the bar and behind for a goal-kick.

Wales seemed unable to cope with the Portuguese who had another good chance on the 65th minute. Nani spotted Hennessey lacking focus, and fired a shot from distance which the Welsh goalkeeper couldn’t hold. Mario pounced on the rebound, but he knocked it just wide of the near post.

Danilo had a chance to put the game out of reach after Bale was caught up in possession, and allowed him to go through into the Welsh penalty area. The midfielder opted to go for goal himself, and Hennesses failed to parry his shot, nearly dropping it across the line. However, the Welsh goalkeeper managed to recover in time.

Wales responded on the 81st minute when Bale forced an excellent save from Patricio. The Welshman fired a long-range strike which the keeper was able to dive across and parry.

Despite trying to hold possession in the dying minutes of the match, Wales could not cope with Portugal on the day, and saw their magnificent Euro 2016 campaign coming to an end.

Following this result, Portugal will play either Germany or France in the final next Sunday.

Wales starting line-up (3-5-2): Hennessey; Chester, Collins, A. Williams; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, King, Taylor; Robson-Kanu, Bale.

Portugal starting line-up (4-4-2): Patricio; Cedric, Alves, Fonte, Guerreiro; Mario, Danilo, Sanches, A. Silva; Nani, Ronaldo.

Yellow cards

Joe Allen (Wales), James Chester (Wales), Ronaldo (Portugal), Bruno Alves (Portugal), Bale (Wales).

Referee

Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)

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