Belfast Telegraph

Ronaldo treble nets final date for Portugal

Portugal 3 Switzerland 1

Goal king: Cristiano Ronaldo
Goal king: Cristiano Ronaldo

By Robert Jones

Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning hat-trick fired hosts Portugal into the Nations League final after a 3-1 win over Switzerland at the Estadio do Dragao.

The Juventus superstar opened the scoring with a fine free-kick after 25 minutes.

Switzerland, though, equalised through a controversial penalty in the 56th minute.

German referee Felix Brych had initially awarded a spot-kick to Portugal, before going back to check a previous incident in the other area.

Following a long delay while he watched replays on the pitchside monitor, Switzerland were given a penalty for what was ruled as a foul by Nelson Semedo on Steven Zuber. AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez converted.

Ronaldo, though, had the final say when he struck twice during the closing three minutes to complete his treble.

Bernardo Silva cut the ball back for the Juve man to drive past Yann Sommer and Ronaldo then made sure of a place in Sunday's final against either England or Holland with another fine low finish.

Along with Ronaldo in the Portugal attack, Manchester City's Silva was also in the starting XI along with Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio and midfielder Ruben Neves.

Switzerland included Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool along with Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and Newcastle defender Fabian Schar.

Ronaldo stepped up for a 25-yard free-kick after being tripped by Kevin Mbabu - and promptly fired the ball through the dispersing wall and past Sommer.

The big talking point came on 52 minutes when Silva had been brought down by Fabian Schar, but the referee took play back to a previous nudge by Semedo on Zuber, eventually giving Switzerland a penalty following a lengthy VAR check which Rodriguez squeezed past Patricio.

Ronaldo, though, settled matters with a superb late double after first chasing down Silva's pass and then completing his hat-trick by lashing the ball into the bottom corner.

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