Friday, November 17, 2017
Sports

Heartbreak for Ronaldo, Portugal

RECOMMENDED READING


PARIS — Cristiano Ronaldo missed a late penalty as Portugal stumbled to a 0-0 draw with Austria, while Belgium swept to a 3-0 win over Ireland on a day of contrasts at the European Championship on Saturday.

There were mixed fortunes too for Iceland, which looked set to cause another shock by following up its draw against Portugal with a victory over Hungary — only for the tiny Scandinavian nation's team to concede a late own-goal and finish 1-1 again.

If the Icelanders can at least console themselves with having scored, nothing went right for Ronaldo in a game where he set the Portugal appearance record with his 128th cap.

Just three weeks earlier in Milan, he had scored the final penalty of a shootout against Atletico Madrid to win the Champions League final for Real Madrid.

But at the Parc des Princes, Ronaldo slammed his spot kick against the left post after sending goalkeeper Robert Almer the wrong way in the 79th minute. The 31-year-old clasped his hands and looked up to the skies.

Minutes later, Ronaldo did find the net with a glancing header, only to be ruled for offside.

Coach Fernando Santos was stoic about another draw that left Portugal with the threat of an embarrassing exit at the group stage. "We can't wallow in our own misery," Santos said. "There is a final to play on the 22nd — our first final of these Euros."

It summed up another substandard game in France for Ronaldo, who is still waiting to score in a record fourth European Championship. Austrian fans taunted Ronaldo early in the game when they chanted "Messi, Messi, Messi," the Argentinian star who is most often the other name in the discussion, along with Ronaldo, as to who is the best player in the world.

"We have to take our chances," man of the match Joao Moutinho of Portugal said, without singling out Ronaldo for blame.

And don't mention set pieces to Ronaldo.

He has now failed to score from 36 free kicks at major tournaments, stretching back to Euro 2004. The first in Paris hit the Austrian defensive wall and the second flew over the crossbar.

There was a brief security scare after the final whistle when a fan rushed onto the field to approach Ronaldo. A steward intervened, but Ronaldo allowed the fan to pose for a selfie.

Portugal's next opponent, Hungary, tops Group F with four points, followed by Iceland and Portugal with two points each. Austria has one point.

Two draws from its first appearance at a major tournament is no mean achievement for Iceland. But Birkir Saevarsson's own goal in the 88th minute, as he intercepted a dangerous low ball across the face of the goal, was still a heartbreaker.

Teammate Gylfi Sigurdsson converted from the penalty spot in the 40th minute. The match was the latest to have crowd trouble and lit flares — leading to a probable fine by UEFA — involving Hungarian fans.

In Bordeaux, Romelu Lukaku had two second-half goals as Belgium's much-vaunted attack sprang to life in an easy win.

COPA AMERICA: Lionel Messi scored and added two assists in his first start in the tournament this year to lead Argentina over Venezuela 4-1 at Foxborough, Mass., and into a semifinal against the United States on Tuesday in Houston.

Comments

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Naples 24, Largo 0

NAPLES — In a game between two teams that had never met with a lot on the line, the Naples defense came up with one of its best efforts against Largo on Friday night.The Golden Eagles limited the Packers to 117 yards of offense in a 24-0 triumph in t...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Lakeland 52, Wiregrass Ranch 0

LAKELAND — It has been a historic season for the Wiregrass Ranch Bulls football team, which made consecutive playoff appearances for the first time, won its most games ever and experienced its first playoff victory.If this were a movie, the final sce...
Updated: 2 hours ago