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Cristiano Ronaldo saves Portugal
Editorial

Cristiano Ronaldo saves Portugal

Hungary and Portugal treated onlookers at Euro 2016 to an exciting and high-octane six-goal thriller, as both sides settled for a 3-3 draw on Wednesday at the Stade des Lumieres.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and equalised on separate occasions for the Portuguese, while Balazs Dzsudzsak matched the Real Madrid superstar with a brace of his own to emerge as the Magyars' hero.

Defying expectations at the European Championship has been a theme for the Hungarians, who have won Group F by also beating Austria and drawing Iceland.

Portugal started the match with more of the possession and applied heavy pressure on their opponents, but Hungary managed to open the scoring just before the 20-minute mark.

In fact, the Magyars took the lead as Dzsudzsak's corner kick was headed out of the area, but only as far as Gera, who chested the errant clearance before hitting a left-footed shot that rolled into the lower right corner of the goal.

Though the Portuguese were contending with their first deficit of the European Championship, they managed to stretch their opponent's back line and create chances.

With a half hour gone in the contest, Cristiano Ronaldo fired a freekick from outside the box that took one bounce of the grass and seemed destined for the goal, though Magyars goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly lunged to his left to parry the shot.

However, A Seleccao finally equalised moments later off a play that started with referee Martin Atkinson awarding the Portuguese with a freekick at midfield when Gergo Lovrencsics dragged down Pepe.

The quickly-taken set piece found its way the Real Madrid star, who slipped the ball in behind the Magyars back line for Nani, who fired a shot past the 40-year-old shot-stopper to make it 1-1.

Though the Portuguese looked renewed after their breakthrough, Hungary did not back down and the game became even more wide open after half time.

Less than two minutes into the second half, the Hungarians took the lead once more. Balazs Dzsudzsak's shot from a freekick just outside the box deflected off the face of midfielder Andre Gomes, who was in A Seleccao's wall, and curled into the goal.

Lovrencsics was sprung on a breakaway seconds later, but shot into the side netting as Hungary's opportunity to extend their lead went begging.

That miss proved to be vital for the Portuguese, as they collected their second equaliser just five minutes into the second half off a stunning finish by Ronaldo.

A cross by Joao Mario from the right flank reached the centre of the box where the world football icon redirected the pass with the back of his left heel, the ball floating into the goal to make it 2-2.

Even so, the Magyars remained fearless and continued attacking, as Dzsudzak gave his country the lead for the third time in the contest five minutes after the Los Blancos man equalised.

Dzsudzsak hit a freekick off a wall of A Seleccao players, but collected his rebound on the edge of the box. The 29-year-old then cut past two opposing defenders before firing a shot that deflected off Nani's leg and flew into the goal to give the Magyars a 3-2 advantage.

More drama continued at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, as Portugal levelled the score again with Ronaldo's help.

With just 25 minute remaining in the game, the Real Madrid superstar emerged in the middle of the penalty area and out-jumped his marker to head a cross by Ricardo Quaresma, who was substituted into the match for Joao Moutinho, past Kiraly to make it 3-3.

A fourth lead change nearly occurred seconds after the Portuguese tied the scoreline, as Hungary almost made it 4-3 once Lovrencsics hit the post off a pass by Elek.

Both sides slowed down after the Lech Poznan man hit the woodwork, though the match remained wide open.

As a result of Wednesday's result in Lyon, Hungary will play the second place team in Group E in the Round of 16 while Portugal, who finished third in Group F with three draws, will wait and see whether they have enough points to qualify for the next stage in the competition.

Fact sheet:

3 - Hungary: Kiraly, Lang, Guzmics, Juhasz, Korhut; Pinter, Gera; Lovrencsics (min. 82, Stieber), Elek, Dzsudzsak; Szalai (min.69, Nemeth)

3 - Portugal: Rui Patricio; Vieirinha, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Eliseu; Joao Mario, William Carvalho, Moutinho (min. 45, Renato Sanches), Andre Gomes (min. 61, Quaresma); Nani (min. 81, Danilo), Ronaldo

Goals: 1-0, min. 19 (Gera) y 1-1, min. 42 (Nani), 2-1, min. 46 (Dzsudzsak), 2-2, min. 49 (Ronaldo), 3-2, min. 55 (Dzsudzask) y 3-3, min. 61 (Ronaldo)

Yellow cards: Martin Atkinson (Inglaterra). Mostró tarjetas amarilla a Guzmics (min. 12), Junasz (min. 27) y Gera (min. 33).

Euro 20163-3 draw with Hungary sees Portugal finish third

Cristiano Ronaldo: "We were out on three occasions, but we fought back"

Portugal had to come from behind three times to salvage a point against a formidable Hungary side on Wednesday evening, and Cristiano Ronaldo was proud of his team's achievement.

Ronaldo set up Nani's initial first half equaliser before twice cancelling out Balazs Dzudzsak's two goals after the break, in a performance which UEFA felt was deserving of the man of the match award.

After the game, the Portuguese forward was in a satisfied mood: "We were behind on three occasions, but fought back each time."

With Portugal settling for third place in Group F after a late victory for Iceland saw them top the group above Austria, A Seleccao will enter the round of 16 as one of the best third placed teams.

"We have achieved our goal," Ronaldo went on, "the team played a good game although it was a little crazy, and full of attacks, but on a personal level I'm happy."

Portugal will now play Croatia in Lens on June 25.

Conte: Players not to blame

Despite failing to maintain their 100 percent record at Euro 2016, Italy coach Antonio Conte will not be holding his players responsible for the defeat to the Republic of Ireland

The 46 year old made a number of changes to the Azzurri side given that first place was guaranteed, but could not stop a spirited Irish side netting a late winner through Robbie Brady.

"I have little to blame the boys for," Conte told RAI Sport.

"It was a very physical game, played on a pitch that made it difficult to play technically.

"It is unfortunate that we lost it, but now we try to regain our energy."

Even though the former Juventus coach made numerous changes to the starting XI, Napoli attacker Lorenzo Insigne remained on the bench until the 74th minute, with Conte confirming that the idea was to introduce him when the game was being stretched.

"I don't know if Insigne deserved to play a few more minutes," claimed the Italian. "I put him on to widen the space between defence and midfield."

Italy now face a last 16 tie against Spain, who defeated them in the final four years ago in Kiev.

"I don't know if it is a positive [playing Spain] at this stage," he concluded.

De Gea: "The criticism motivates me to play better"

Spain lost 2-1 to Croatia on Tuesday evening with David de Gea taking much of the blame, but the goalkeeper is using the criticism to spur him on.

The Manchester United star looked shaky for much of the match, conceding possession to Croatia's forwards and was beaten surprisingly easily at his near post by Ivan Perisic, as Spain went behind late on.

As a result, de Gea was targeted by the media with many finding him at fault for the defeat, though the goalkeeper claims to be inspired by the fallout.

"Only those who lose sight of their dreams are defeated- thank you for the criticism, it motivates me to keep fighting," De Gea said.

Spain finished second in Group D, behind Croatia, and will now face Italy in the round of 16 on June 27.

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