Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Portugal stormed into UEFA Nations League final beating Switzerland 3-1 at Estadio do Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal. The match, which was supposedly going to end as a draw, was decided by two late goals from Ronaldo. This was the Juventus star's seventh hat-trick playing for the national team.
The 34-year-old striker was silent in the early periods of the match but he drew first blood for Portugal in the 25th minute with a swerving free-kick from just outside the box. Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer failed to set up the wall properly and he was somewhat responsible for the goal conceded. But Ronaldo's strike was clinical as the five-time Ballan D'or champion coming after a long international break gave the hosts a lead.
Switzerland had a great chance in the initial stages of the match but Xherdan Shaqiri wasted it as he could not place the ball properly with only Rui Patricio in front of him. The Portuguese goalkeeper made a move closing in the angle and making it difficult for Shaqiri to draw first blood for Switzerland.
Switzerland opened their account just before the hour mark with a goal from Ricardo Rodriguez from the penalty spot. The penalty came from a controversial VAR decision given in favour of Switzerland by the German referee Felix Brych.
Swiss footballer Steven Zuber raced into the Portugal penalty area and was brought down by Nelson Semedo. But the referee gave nothing as the Swiss players wanted a penalty. The next thing was that Portugal went onto the attack with Ronaldo in the box. Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva took the ball from Ronaldo to score the goal but Fabian Schar tripped him with a mistimed tackle and Portugal called for a penalty.
The German referee stopped the game to consult VAR and much to the surprise for everybody he awarded the penalty to Switzerland for the foul committed on Zuber and AC Milan defender Rodriguez slotted it under the hands of Rui Patricio who guessed the right direction of the spot kick.
As the match was heading to extra-time the former Real Madrid striker gave Portugal the crucial lead in the dying minutes like every time he does it for the 2016 European champions. Ronaldo hit the lower bottom corner of the net after receiving a beautiful cross from Bernardo Silva. The 34-year-old increased the lead in the 90th minute to give Portugal a two-goal cushion much to the dismay of the Swiss fans. Attacking on the break Ronaldo was set free by Bernardo Silva and he cut inside the Swiss defence and slotted home past the goalkeeper to make it 3-1 and simultaneously scoring his hattrick. The match was over for Switzerland as they crashed out of the tournament.
Switzerland had better ball possession throughout the match and equal shots on target but they were not clinical enough to win the match. Portugal will face the winner of the Netherlands and England match in the final of the inaugural tournament.