|1 September 2021||7:45 pm||Men's Senior||2021|
A record breaking Cristiano Ronaldo brace, helped Portugal salvage all three points, as the forward's goals cancelled out a late first half header from John Egan, as Ireland remain pointless, in Group A of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The Boys in Green battled well during tonight’s fixture and deserved a point, the side looking much the better during the tie, a brave display as the defence looked water tight, before two lapses in concentration cost Ireland the victory.
Portugal started the better of the two sides, and were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute, as Bruno Fernandes was brought down by Jeff Hendrick. After a lengthy VAR check, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to take the kick, but 19-year-old Gavin Bazunu, guessed correctly to save the spot kick, diving to his right to deny the Portuguese forward.
The Republic started to push on during the half, and did create some chances, but failed to make any headway, to test Rui Patrico in the Portugal goal. Ireland’s best chance fell to Aaron Connolly, who did well to get into the home side's box, but his effort went off Patrico for a corner.
In a dramatic turn of events, Stephen Kenny's men found themselves ahead just before the break, Jamie McGrath taking the resulting corner, his cross found the head of Egan, who fires home a powerful header past Patrico, as Ireland would lead 1-0 at the break.
Chances were plentiful for Portugal during the second half, Fernandes having an effort at goal that went wide, while Bernardo Silva missed a close-range chance, firing over the bar.
Pre game the build up was all around Ronaldo’s record breaking attempt, the Portugal forward having a free kick saved by Bazunu late on, before the forward broke the men's international goal scoring record, getting free in the box before sending a powerful header into the back of the net.
With the clock having ticked over the 95-minute mark, a draw looked to be the result, but again Ronaldo was on hand to break Irish hearts, again getting space to head home past Bazunu, as Portugal came home with all three points.
|Estádio Algarve, Medronhal, Faro, Portugal|