- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) - Brazil survived its second-straight penalty shootout, beating Portugal 3-1 Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

After beating Uruguay 5-4 in a shootout in the Round of 16, five-time champion Brazil again showed its aptitude from the spot and will now face either Senegal or Uzbekistan on Wednesday.

Portugal had been by far the better team in normal time, repeatedly stretching the Brazil defense through Gelson Martins, Rafa and Nuno Santos. But Brazil held on to force the match into extra time, then into a shootout.

“Portugal created more in front of goal than we did and deserved to win today,” Brazil coach Rogerio Micale said. “They were better than us but, that being said, I don’t think anyone can say that we didn’t deserve to go through.”

Manchester United signing Andreas Pereira scored for Brazil and Manchester City’s Rony Lopes replied for Portugal to start the shootout. Then Raphael Guzzo, Andre Slva and Santos all missed for Portugal while captain Danilo and Gabriel Jesus scored to send Brazil through.

Portugal was by far the more creative and more threatening side in a match which failed to live-up to expectations as a clash of bitter rivals and football superpowers.

Brazil seemed lethargic at times, possibly a result of its extra time clash with Uruguay but also a sign of the wariness which seems to have infected it throughout the tournament. Its clash with Uruguay was also locked at 0-0 after extra time.

“We knew it was going to be tough and that’s how it turned out,” Micale said. “We were tired after playing extra-time against Uruguay and we suffered a bit.

“Everyone saw what happened but in the end we were able to celebrate in the penalty shootout.”

Portugal made the running from the outset and Nunos had the first real chance after only three minutes, pushing his shot wide of the posts. Martins provided an outstanding left-wing cross from Lopes in the 10th minute but Lopes’ header was wide.

The talented Martins was again the provider for Silva in the 14th minute but Silva headed wide with just the keeper to beat.

Fullback Rafa put a slanted shot across the face of goal in the 28th minute, which inched wide of the far post. Among all those chances and against the run of play, Danilo seemed to have put Brazil ahead, rising to head the ball into the back of the net but the whistle had already sounded for a free kick.

Portugal peppered the Brazil goal throughout the second half. Martin’s long range shot in the 72nd mintue was deflected and Silva brought the crowd to its feet when his powerful shot hit the inside of the post and bounced back into play.

Portugal had perhaps the best chance of the match at the end of the first period of extra-time when Santos made a long run out of defense and put the ball perfectly at the feet of Martins who, in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper shot wide.

Brazil’s Lucao was the first to miss in the penalty shootout, pushing his shot wide of goal. That was immediately negated when Guzzo shot straight at the keeper.

Danilo and Gabriel stepped up to score for Brazil while Silva shot wide and Santos put the crucial kick over the crossbar.


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