Tears turn to cheers for Ronaldo as Portugal sink Slovenia in a shoot-out

Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa saved three penalties in the shoot-out against Slovenia, after Cristiano Ronaldo had missed one in extra-time, to send his side into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 after a night of high drama in Frankfurt.

Slovenia, the lowest ranked side left in the competition, had battled their way through a goalless 90 minutes, and went close themselves through Benjamin Sesko.

Ronaldo – who had seen several free-kicks fly off target – then stepped up with a penalty in the first period of extra-time, but goalkeeper Jan Oblak made a brilliant save at full stretch.

Sesko then spurned a chance to win it for Slovenia when a slip from veteran defender Pepe saw him race clear, only for Costa to pull off a superb block.

Porto keeper Costa then saved all three of Slovenia’s opening spot-kicks, with Ronaldo converting his before Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva slotted in the winning penalty to secure a quarter-final against France in Hamburg on Friday.

Looking to produce a response from the shock defeat to Georgia in their final Group F game, Portugal had made a positive start.

Rafael Leao’s surging run was halted by a sliding tackle from Vanja Drkusic at the edge of the penalty area. Ronaldo then sent the free-kick just over the crossbar and Joao Palhinha drilled a low 18-yard shot narrowly wide of the far post.

Early in the second half, Ronaldo was given another opportunity with a free-kick around 20 yards out, which he fired through the wall but straight at Oblak.

Slovenia had make it to the knockout stage at the Euros for the first time on the back of three battling draws in Group C, including holding England to a goalless stalemate in Cologne.

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After soaking up so much pressure, Matjaz Kek’s side looked to hit Portugal on the break with Sesko bursting away down the left and into the penalty area – but veteran defender Pepe made up enough ground to force the striker to scuff his shot wide.

With two minutes left, substitute Diogo Jota played Ronaldo into the left side of the Slovenia area, but his low shot was too close to Oblak as the match went to extra-time.

Portugal were awarded a penalty in the 105th minute when Jota charged down the centre and was bundled over by Drkusic.

Ronaldo stepped up to fire the ball towards the bottom right corner – but Atletico Madrid keeper Oblak produced a stunning save at full stretch to push it onto the post.

The Portugal captain was in tears during the brief interval, having to be consoled by his team-mates before returning to the pitch for the final 15 minutes, while Slovenia boss Kek had been shown a straight red card so watched the rest of the game in the stands.

A slip by last man Pepe saw Sesko run clean through on goal and look certain to score – but Costa came out quickly to spread himself and save with his outstretched leg.

The match went to a shoot-out and Costa got Portugal off to a flying start when he saved from Josip Ilicic, before Ronaldo slotted past Oblak, this time into the opposite corner.

Remarkably, Costa saved again to deny Benjamin Verbic, which left Silva to slot in for a 3-0 shoot-out win and spark wild celebrations among his team-mates, led by Ronaldo.

Livescore.com

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