CRISTIANO Ronaldo scored a superb hat-trick as Portugal reached the Nations League final with victory over Switzerland at the Estadio do Dragao.Ronaldo 34, had given the hosts the lead with a stunning first-half free-kick that flew into the bottom-right corner, wrong-footing Swiss keeper Yann Sommer.Switzerland levelled in the second period when Ricardo Rodriguez tucked away a video assistant referee-awarded penalty moments after referee Felix Brych had initially signalled for a penalty at the other end.But after consulting his pitch-side monitor, the decision was expunged and he instead gave a spot-kick for Nelson Semedo’s foul on Switzerland’s Steven Zuber.Incensed by the decision, the hosts struggled to build any rhythm as the game appeared to drift towards extra-time.However, Ronaldo made the crucial difference late on, sweeping Bernardo Silva’s cross into the bottom-right corner, before firing into the same spot 102 seconds later.Portugal play the winners of today’s semi-final between England and the Netherlands (19:45hrs BST), with the final in Porto on Sunday.RONALDO UNDERLINES ENDURING CLASSPrior to this match, Ronaldo had featured just twice in Portugal’s past eight international games, playing no part at all in their qualification for the semi-finals of this tournament.After drawing blanks in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Serbia and Ukraine in March, and in Portugal’s final two games of the World Cup last summer, he once again demonstrated his enduring quality in the international arena.He may no longer be at the peak of his powers, but 350 days after scoring his last international goal he added to his 85-goal tally by winning and scoring from a free-kick.In trademark fashion he dipped the ball over the Switzerland wall and it was past Sommer in a flash with the goalkeeper unable to readjust.He sits second on the all-time international top scorers chart with 88 goals in 157 matches with only Iran’s Ali Daei (109) ahead of him.And his importance as the scorer of great goals came to the fore with Fernando Santos’ team struggling to find answers against a resourceful and purposeful Swiss side.A darting run moved him onto Silva’s cross and a step-over and shimmy gave him the space to dispatch another clinical strike to make the game safe for the European champions.It brought up his 53rd hat-trick for club and country.
Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: Sept. 2, 2018 at 9:38 a.m.Jamesville-DeWitt drove down the field with less than two minutes to go in the game. Adam Honis, on his final pass of the night, threw a 30-yard touchdown to Patrick Murad. The score showed life in the Red Rams team. But it wasn’t enough.“It’s because they were in a soft coverage, a prevent coverage, and they gave up stuff underneath,” head coach Eric Ormond said. “That’s all that was. No moral victories there.”It was against that “soft” coverage that J-D found its most success passing the ball. Honis finished 17-30 passing with an interception. In the first game under a new offensive coordinator, with Kevin Kalfass’ departure to Central Square, the Red Rams couldn’t put enough together to beat Section IV’s Susquehanna Valley. The Sabers won, 28-19, and the Red Rams offense came on too late.Jamesville-DeWitt’s first drive marched the Red Rams down the field quickly and into field goal range. Though the Red Rams would throw an interception at the one-yard line following a fake field goal, J-D was able to make the first strike on its next drive. J-D quarterback Adam Honis hit Kaleb McCloud a 22-yard score.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Sabers bounced right back, though. Utilizing a triple-option offense to great success, including a few carries where Billy Sheridan bounced off tacklers to get extra yardage, it was a quarterback keeper that knotted it up. Jarred Freije decided to take care of matters himself and powered in, right up the gut, from two yards out to tie the game at 7.In the second half, the Carrier Dome heat got to the Red Rams. Multiple players ended up on the ground at the end of plays with cramps. With only 27 healthy guys, according to Honis, the depth wasn’t there to overcome those cramps.“We’re not very deep,” Honis said. “So when kids cramp it hurts, and we saw that in the game.”J-D had its chances. A touchdown from Honis to Murad in the third quarter would have tied the game, if not for a missed extra point. But then Freije ran for a second touchdown from two-yards out. Honis had a stretch of four incompletions in six passes as the Red Rams tried to get back in the game. And the Sabers got a touchdown to practically ice the ballgame with 1:45 to play and a 15-point lead.As the clock wound down, one loud voice could be heard from the Red Rams’ student section.“Every year, we’re never good enough,” the student said.Honis said that there were “a whole bunch of things” that the Red Rams needed to work on. But there’d be more chances to bounce back when the league schedule got underway for J-D. But Ormond stayed blunt.“Too many on the list to be able to mention individually,” said Ormond of what J-D needs to improve. “Every facet of the game, from an execution standpoint, fundamentals, the whole nine yards.”CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, Eric Ormond’s name was misspelled. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Published on September 1, 2018 at 8:39 pm Contact Billy: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Wheyen3