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SportRonaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final

01:42  06 june  2019
01:42  06 june  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/SUSANA VERA UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland

Evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including two late goals, to give Portugal a 3-1 win over Switzerland in a Nations League semi-final featuring an extraordinary VAR incident on Wednesday.

Ronaldo blasted Portugal ahead from a free kick in the 25th minute, his first goal for his country for nearly a year, but the game took an unusual twist shortly after halftime which will raise more questions over the use of the VAR system.

Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/RAFAEL MARCHANTE UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland

Portugal was awarded a penalty for a foul on Bernardo Silva but the referee then decided to review an incident at the other end which happened immediately beforehand.

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He then awarded a spot kick to the Swiss instead which Ricardo Rodriguez converted in the 57th minute to equalise.

Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/SUSANA VERA UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland

With the game heading for extra time, Ronaldo turned in Bernardo Silva's pass in the 88th minute and completed the win by curling the ball past Yann Sommer two minutes later.

Switzerland created some early openings but Portugal struck first.

Ronaldo, whose last goal for them was against Morocco at the World Cup last June, went down under a challenge from Kevin Mbabu on the edge of the area, got up and sent his free-kick fizzing past a wrong-footed Sommer and into the net.

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The real drama came after halftime. Swiss midfielder Steven Zuber went down under a challenge from Nelson Semedo and appealed for a penalty but play continued. Portugal then went straight down the other end and was awarded a penalty for a foul on Silva.

Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/SUSANA VERA UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland

The referee, after consulting the video assistant, then decided to review the Swiss incident on the pitchside monitor and awarded them the spot kick.

Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/SUSANA VERA UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland

The Swiss took control but were destroyed by three lethal minutes from Ronaldo, who had been lacklustre for most of the second half.

Silva produced a low cross from the right and Ronaldo swept the ball home with his first touch to rescue his side in the 88th minute.

Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/RAFAEL MARCHANTE UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland

Two minutes later, he collected the ball on the counter-attack, twisted past his marker and curled the ball into the far corner for his 88th international goal in 157 appearances.

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Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final© Reuters/SUSANA VERA UEFA Nations League Semi Final - Portugal v Switzerland
Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final
Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final
Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final
Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final
Ronaldo hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final
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