Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ronaldo and Co Heading to Semis

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ronaldo and Co Heading to Semis

Article excerpt

Czech Reublic 0 Portugal 1 CRISTIANO Ronaldo headed Portugal into the semi-finals of the European Championships at the expense of the Czech Republic last night.

The Real Madrid forward had twice hit the woodwork and seen his side have a goal chalked out for offside before he arrived on cue in the six-yard box to nod in Joao Moutinho's cross on 79 minutes.

The Czechs - with captain Tomas Rosicky, the Arsenal midfielder, only on the bench because of an Achilles injury - had started brightly, but lacked a decisive move in the final third.

It had been a decent opening from Michal Bilek's side as Petr Jiracek drilled the ball in from 20 yards, but his effort was blocked by Real Madrid defender Pepe.

On 17 minutes, the Czech Republic broke quickly down the right and Vladimir Darida whipped over a low cross through the six-yard box, which Galatasaray striker Milan Baros just failed to connect with.

Ronaldo was played into the Czech box, holding off Michal Kadlec, and drilled the ball goalwards with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech making a smart save.

The game was starting to open up as Czech full-back Theodor Gebre Selassie cut in from the right and crossed, with Pepe again alert to clear the danger.

At the other end, Ronaldo - who netted a brace against the Dutch - went close with an overhead kick at the far post.

Nani claimed for a penalty after going down in the box under close attention from David Limbersky, but the referee was unconvinced, with TV replays showing the United forward slipped rather than was pushed.

Ronaldo was within inches of a spectacular opening goal when he collected a high ball into the box on his chest, swivelled around marker Kadlec and crashed the ball past Cech only for it to strike the base of the near post.

On 50 minutes, Ronaldo was denied by the woodwork again as this time his 30-yard free-kick clipped the outside of the far post with Cech beaten.

The Chelsea keeper then had to parry away a 25-yard strike from Nani, and only an offside flag prevented Portugal taking the lead on 57 minutes when Almeida glanced in the United winger's cross. …

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