Diogo Costa Saves Three Penalties After Cristiano Ronaldo Miss Early Spot-kick as Portugal Beat Slovakia to Reach Euro 2024 Quarterfinals

0
197

Diogo Costa saved three penalties in the shootouts to send Portugal into Euro 2024 quarter-finals after Cristiano Ronaldo’s in-game penalty was saved by Slovenia goalkeeper Oblak.

Portugal endured a nerve-wracking evening but ultimately secured their place in the UEFA Euro 2024 quarter-finals with a 3-0 penalty shootout victory over a resolute Slovenia. Despite a disappointing 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, the Portuguese advanced thanks to their composure from the spot, ending Slovenia’s historic run in their first-ever knockout stage appearance at an international tournament.

Diogo Costa Portugal

The pre-match narrative was laced with tension. Portugal, led by Roberto Martínez, sought redemption after suffering a shocking 2-0 defeat to Slovenia in a friendly back in March. With Slovenia’s defense proving to be a formidable obstacle, the game at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen unfolded as a tactical stalemate.

From the start, Portugal faced difficulty in breaking down Slovenia’s well-organized defence. Rafael Leão and Cristiano Ronaldo both had early half-chances but failed to connect with promising crosses. Ronaldo, in particular, appeared desperate to break his Euro 2024 goal drought, unleashing a series of speculative shots and free-kicks, all of which failed to trouble Slovenia’s star goalkeeper, Jan Oblak.

As the first half drew to a close, Slovenia found themselves growing into the match. Their key forward, Benjamin Šeško, tested Diogo Costa with a stinging shot, signaling Slovenia’s intent to challenge on the counter. Portugal nearly snatched a lead just before halftime, but João Palhinha’s low drive skimmed the base of the post, leaving the match scoreless at the break.

Diogo Costa Portugal

The second half followed a similar pattern, with Portugal dominating possession but struggling to break down Slovenia’s disciplined defense. Oblak continued to frustrate Ronaldo, making a crucial save from one of his powerful free-kicks. Slovenia, meanwhile, threatened sporadically on the break, with Šeško narrowly missing the target after a promising counter-attack.

Extra time loomed, and as both teams appeared to accept the inevitability of a penalty shootout, drama ensued. Portugal were handed a golden opportunity to settle the match in the dying minutes when Vanja Drkušić clumsily brought down Diogo Jota in the box. The referee, Daniele Orsato, awarded a penalty, and Ronaldo stepped up, only to see his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Oblak, who tipped the ball off-target

The match headed to penalties, where Portugal demonstrated their superiority. Slovenia’s nerves got the better of them as they missed their first three attempts, while Portugal’s Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, and Cristiano Ronaldo all converted their kicks with aplomb. Diogo Costa’s crucial saves during the shootout epitomized his night and secured Portugal’s victory.

In the end, Portugal’s 3-0 win on penalties might not have been the anticipated outcome, but it was enough to propel them into a highly anticipated quarter-final clash against France. Slovenia, despite the heartbreak, can take immense pride in their unprecedented achievement, as their fans celebrated a landmark tournament.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here