Image: theguardian.com

Image: theguardian.com

Wales’ fairytale at the Euro 2016 championship ended in the semifinals late Wednesday night thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliant display.

On a night that the world’s two most expensive players – Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, both of Real Madrid – went head to head, Cristiano Ronaldo was the man who led his team to victory.

He was a constant threat to Wales’ defence throughout the encounter. His unrelenting marauding at Wales’ goal area eventually yielded a goal and an from an assist, the winning goal came, both under three minutes.

Ronaldo had before Wednesday night been criticised for under-performing for a team that looked up to him for everything.

How best could he have made his point but with a goal – a powerful header in the 50th minute – and an assist for Nani in the 53rd minute – the two goals that drowned Wales.

Bale,  on the other hand, also gave a good account of himself – it just wasn’t as good as the Ronaldo effect on the night.

Though Wales are out of the championship, the players can be proud of themselves as heroes as they became the first group of men to take their national team this far in any international competition.

Image: theguardian.com

Image: theguardian.com

At the end of the game Bale said: “We’re massively disappointed but we’ve got to be proud of ourselves. We’ve given everything.

“We want to thank the fans, who have been incredible. We tried our hardest and we’re sorry we couldn’t get to the final. They shut up shop quite well. We have no regrets. We have to be proud of what we’ve achieved.”

For Portugal on the other hand, the team will be proud that Ronaldo chose the penultimate grand stage to make a grand statement at the championship.

 

Ronaldo’s onslaught at Wales’ defence started as early as the third minute when he went raiding Wales’ goal area and was brought down by Wales captain, Ashley Williams, 20 yards from goal with no free kick awarded.

In spite of Welsh defender, Collins, man-marking Ronaldo, the world’s best player proved just why he is the best player in the world, even when Messi is alive, with the way he created chances, both for himself and his team mates.

The keenly contested first half ended goalless with chances on both ends almost limited to their respective star men.

On resumption of hostilities in the second half, Portugal only had to wait five minutes to shoot into the lead.

Ronaldo scored an amazing header – one of the most difficult – between three strong Wales defenders.

Image: theguardian.com

Image: theguardian.com

He rose above them to power a header past Wales goalkeeper, Hennessey, after a sublime first time Guerreiro cross from the left wing.

With the cross well-placed, Ronaldo had to make sure there was enough power in the header as he was heading from all of eight yards.

Three minutes later, Portugal would be celebrating again, thanks to a Ronaldo/Nani collaboration. Nani only had to slide in Ronaldo’s shot from 25 yards. And he did it quite perfectly, sending Hennessey the wrong way.

With the second goal in the pocket, Portugal kept their two-goal advantage till the end of 90 minutes as they earned their first win in duration time at the Euro 2016 championship.

This win means Portugal will now face the winner between France and Germany in the final on Sunday.

Author: Cerebral Lemon