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Ronaldo scores hat-trick to take Portugal to UEFA Nations League final

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-06-06 10:09
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Juventus celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Nations League Semi-Final match between Portugal and Switzerland at Estadio do Dragao on June 5, 2019 in Porto, Portugal. [Photo/VCG]

PORTO - Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to help Portugal past Switzerland 3-1 and reach the UEFA Nations League final at Estadio do Dragao here on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old, who had not scored in the last four games for his country since the World Cup, put Portugal ahead in the 25th minute by winning and scoring from a free-kick from 25 meters, which left Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer dumbfounded.

Switzerland levelled eight minutes into the second half when Ricardo Rodriguez scored a penalty kick.

German referee Felix Brych had initially awarded a penalty for Portugal but reversed his decision, and gave one to Switzerland instead after a VAR check. The referee believed that Nelson Semedo fouled in the box against Steven Zuber.

With the match heading to overtime, Ronaldo, making his 157th appearance for Portugal, regained the lead in the 88th minute with a low, first-time finish.

He sealed the victory two minutes later after curling a shot from just inside the Switzerland penalty area into the bottom right-hand corner.

It was the Portugal captain's 86th, 87th and 88th goals of a 16-year international career.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said of the Ronaldo after the match: "In terms of adjectives to describe Ronaldo's game, I've used many. I was his coach in 2003 and I could see where he'd go. He's a genius. There's genius paintings and sculptures and he's a football genius."

Portugal will fight for the title against the other semifinal between England and the Netherlands, which will be held on Thursday.

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