JONATHAN SHALLARD REPORTING: Shootout dramatics engulfed the UEFA Euro finals as Portugal went to the final frontier before overcoming battling Slovenia 3-0 on penalties after an extra-time draw in their Round of 16 duel in Frankfurt.

For once the Portuguese hero was not Cristiano Ronaldo but their 24-year-old Swiss-born goalkeeper Diogo Costa. He saved his team from falling behind in extra time and then stopped all three Slovene spot kicks, the first keeper to achieve such a Euro shootout treble.

Portugal captain Ronaldo endured both agony and ecstasy in the latest drama in his record sixth championship. He was repeatedly off-target with free kicks in normal time, had a penalty saved by opposing captain Jan Oblak in extra time but then stepped up magnificently to convert Portugal’s second kick in the shootout.

Two sides of the shootout coin emotions in Frankfurt

Ronaldo’s tears after his penalty miss turned to satisfied and relieved smiles in celebration after Bernardo Silva’s decisive third kick.

He said: “Sadness at the start is joy at the end. That’s what football is. Moments, inexplicable moments.

“A direct shot to give the team the lead. I didn’t manage it. Oblak made a good save. I have to see the penalty, I don’t know if I shot well or badly but I haven’t missed once all year, and when I needed it most, Oblak saved it.

“I think Portugal deserved it because we had more authority. Slovenia spent almost the entire game defending. It’s very difficult and the whole team is to be congratulated, especially our goalkeeper who made three very good saves.”

Before this tie Ronaldo had converted all his previous 24 penalties but has missed three of his last nine kicks in major tournaments.

Hero keeper Costa said: “I went with my gut feeling. Of course, we had analysed the penalty takers but players change and they change how they shoot. This is probably the best game of my life.”

Portugal dominated possession for almost all the 120 minutes but were held at bay by a superbly disciplined defensive display by Slovenia.

The outsiders created two clear chances to snatch victory. Both fell to Benjamin Sesko. In the 66th minute he sliced wide under pressure from Pepe. Then, in the second half of extra time, a mistake by the veteran defender allowed Sesko to race clear on goal only for Diogo Costa to save with an outstretched left foot.

** Matjaz Kek, the Slovenia coach, was shown a direct red card at halftime in extra time.

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