Chile’s goalkeeper Claudio Bravo emerged the hero in the penalties as Portugal and Ronaldo got knocked out of the Confederations Cup.
In a largely cagey, tentative and lackluster match, Chile, spearheaded by the ever-impressive Alexis Sanchez stood their ground to Portugal who had more possession in the first half and in large patches of the second.
Tried as they did, Portugal couldn’t unlock the resolute defense of the Chileans ably marshaled by the trio of Gary Medel, Beausejour and Bravo.
Hard fighting Arturo Vidal is always a torn in the flesh for any opposition. As usual, he put in a great shift in the middle of the park to curb the exciting creativity of Portugal’s rising star, Bernado Silva.
Quality through balls were scarce for the Portugal. When they came, they fell to Andre Gomes who was woeful throughout the night until he was substituted.
In the second half, Ronaldo had a header off the mark and blasted one free kick well over target. That almost summed up the inspirational captain’s performance for his team
The extra time provided a bit more incisive football from the sides. The Chileans were acquitting themselves creditably well and Sanchez who didn’t get any sight of the Portuguese goal in 90 minutes started to enjoy himself.
After the match almost drew to curtain of the extra time, Arturo Vidal produced a spinner that hit Rui Patricio left post. Just as the combative midfield star rued his miss, the rebound hit the upper post again!
At that time; Portugal lived a charmed life as the game ended and transited to penalty kicks.
Bravo then stepped in and saved Portugal’s first three penalties to send Chile into the finals of the Confederation Cup.
Ronaldo didn’t get to kick one this time around. The Europeans champions are going back home to prepare for possibly a more joyous return next June.
Meanwhile, all hats off for the man of the moment – Claudio Bravo!