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Cristiano Ronaldo breaks Euros record as Portugal beat Czechia

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to appear at six European Championships as Portugal began their Euro 2024 campaign with a 2-1 win over Czechia.

The legendary forward had just seven caps to his name heading into his first continental tournament, Euro 2004. But entered this summer’s tournament with no fewer than 207 appearances for his country under his belt. Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t get on the score sheet to mark his 208th cap. However, as his Portugal side made hard work of their 2-1 win over Czechia on Tuesday evening.

Portugal enjoyed plenty of possession early on, with Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings from deep. And Rafael Leao constantly looking to get in down the left wing. Ronaldo failed to make the most of an early header and drew an excellent reaction-stop from Czechia goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek. Although replays soon showed that the Al Nassr superstar had failed to beat the offside trap.

Stanek denied Ronaldo once again shortly before the interval. With Portugal on top but clearly struggling to find any clear-cut chances behind Czechia’s solid defence. This was the first time at Euro 2024 that a game had been tied 0-0 at the break.

Portugal had a clear focus on crosses, whipping the ball into the box the best part of 20 times before the break. And that trend continued into a second half which saw Roberto Martinez’s side push for an opener. However, they’d find themselves chasing the game on the hour mark as Lukas Provod curled home from the outside of the box to set up another potential shock.

Portugal wouldn’t be chasing for long. Nine minutes later, the score was tied up. Stanek pushed Nuno Mendes’ header right into the legs of the retreating Robin Hranac. He could only watch on in horror as the ball rebounded into the back of the net.

As the clock ticked on, Portugal thought they had found a winner as Liverpool’s Diogo Jota tapped home a rebound from a Ronaldo header, but the semi-automated offside technology quickly confirmed the 39-year-old had strayed an inch offside – a great advert for the system.

Devastation soon flipped to elation as, in the 92nd minute, debutant Francisco Conceicao pounced on a fortunate deflection to thunder home from close range and steer Portugal to victory.

Source: 90min.com