Ronaldo steers Portugal to 3-1 win
Cristiano Ronaldo, tipped by many to become Euro 2008's player of the tournament, scored one goal and made another to give Portugal a 3-1 win over Czech Republic in Group A on Wednesday. Special: Euro 2008sports Updated: Jun 12, 2008 01:57 IST
Cristiano Ronaldo, tipped by many to become Euro 2008's player of the tournament, scored one goal and made another to give Portugal a 3-1 win over Czech Republic in Group A on Wednesday.
The victory at the Stade de Geneve put Portugal firmly on top of the group with six points and within touching distance of a quarter-final berth.
With the game level at 1-1, Ronaldo struck in the 63rd minute with a firm shot from a pass by Deco and then set up Ricardo Quaresma to add the third in stoppage time.
Portugal began better and after midfield probing by both taams, they went ahead in their first foray into Petr Cech's area in the eigth minute.
Ronaldo sped through the defence and tried to round Cech. The goalkeeper blocked with his foot but the ball ran free to Deco on the left who put it in the net at the second attempt.
The goal stung the Czechs into action.
Libor Sionko equalised nine minutes later after the winger had won a corner with a penetrating attacking run down the right. Sionko then powered a header past Ricardo from Jaroslav Plasil's corner.
Czech Republic were far more enterprising and sharp than against the Swiss on Saturday with a Marek Matejovsky at the helm and striker Milan Baros trying to unsettle Portugal's Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho.
The Czechs were strong on the wings, forcing Ronaldo to try attacking down the middle where he brought a diving save from Cech with a shot from outside the area.
A Ronaldo free kick just before halftime was one of five Portguese shots on target in the first half to just one for Czech Republic.
The Czechs could have gone ahead minutes after the interval when Matejovsky set up Sionko for a low cross from the right that went across the face of goal untouched.
Close to the hour Cech made a good save from Simao Sabrosa's point-blank shot as the Czechs sat back soaking up pressure.
Czech captain Tomas Ujfalusi was just wide when he glanced a right wing corner with his head towards the far post minutes before Ronaldo struck.
Ronaldo then finished off a breakaway by squaring the ball for Quaresma to steer into an empty net.