• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

FOOTBALL

Costa’s penalty saves propel Portugal past Slovenia at Euros

Costa’s saves against Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec, and Benjamin Verbic ensured Portugal’s win. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Portugal’s goalkeeper Diogo Costa saved three penalties from Slovenia, leading to a 3-0 shoot-out victory after a dramatic Euro 2024 last 16 match on Monday.

Cristiano Ronaldo redeemed himself after missing a penalty in extra time, scoring in the shoot-out to help Portugal advance to the quarter-finals against France.

Ronaldo was emotional after his missed penalty in the goalless match in Frankfurt but managed to convert in the shoot-out.

Portugal’s goals in the shoot-out came from Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernardo Silva. Slovenia’s three players missed their penalties, allowing Portugal to win.

“First it was sadness and then it was joy, that’s what football gives you, inexplicable moments, a bit of everything,” said Ronaldo. “I didn’t make a single mistake this year and when I needed something the most, Oblak saved it. Slovenia spent the whole game defending and when that happens, it all becomes difficult.”

Ronaldo, 39, has yet to score in this tournament, having scored in the five previous editions of the Euros.

Portugal, the Euro 2016 winners, dominated possession and created several chances, including an early opportunity missed by Fernandes.

Slovenia, in their first ever knockout match at a major competition, maintained a strong defensive shape and limited Portugal’s opportunities.

Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak made key saves, including stopping Ronaldo’s penalty after Diogo Jota was fouled.

Portugal’s Joao Palhinha hit the post just before halftime. In the second half, Ronaldo’s free-kicks were thwarted by Oblak.

Slovenia’s Benjamin Sesko had a chance but missed after beating Pepe, the oldest player in the tournament at 41, for pace.

Extra time saw fewer opportunities until the 103rd minute when Jota was fouled, leading to Ronaldo’s missed penalty, saved by Oblak.

Costa then saved Slovenia’s penalty efforts in the shoot-out, securing Portugal’s victory.

Ronaldo asked for forgiveness from the fans after scoring in the shoot-out.

Costa’s saves against Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec, and Benjamin Verbic ensured Portugal’s win, with Fernandes and Silva converting their penalties.

(With inputs from AFP)

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