Portugal beat Republic of Ireland 2-1 in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers at Estádio Algarve. Cristiano Ronaldo saw an early penalty saved as the visitors took a half-time lead, and when all seemed lost Portugal’s talisman stepped up with two late headers.

Ronaldo finally eclipsed Iran's Ali Daei as the highest goalscorer in international football, taking his tally to 111 goals in 180 internationals.

Portugal start strong

Portugal dominated possession in the early stages but found it tough to get past Republic of Ireland’s deep lying defence. They were given a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 15th minute.

The visitors unsuccessfully tried to play out from the back, Jeffrey Hendrick taking down Bruno Fernandes with referee Matej Jug pointing to the spot. There was a delay due to a VAR intervention, Gavin Bazunu timing his leap to perfection as he dived to his right to save Ronaldo’s spot kick.

The Boys in Green began to exert some pressure, but the most they could muster was an Aaron Connolly shot that sailed high and wide.

Portugal should have taken the lead in the 27th minute, João Cancelo’s cross finding Diogo Jota whose header hit the post from point blank range.

Bruno Fernandes shot over the bar before Ireland threatened once more, but once again all they had to show for it was a wayward shot from Connolly.

Ireland take a surprise lead

Josh Cullen released Connolly who raced in on goal, Rui Patrício coming off his line to smother the shot and concede a corner from which Ireland went ahead.

Jamie McGrath's delivery found John Egan, the Sheffield United defender getting between Cancelo and Ronaldo to head past Patrício.

Diogo Jota had two opportunities to equalise before the break, testing Bazunu with a low shot before firing wide after being released by Pepe.

Instant impact from Silva

Rafa Silva made way for André Silva at the break and the Leipzig striker made an immediate impact by helping his side win a succession of corners.

Raphaël Guerreiro’s shot was headed away by Shane Duffy and Bruno Fernandes shot wide as Portugal stepped on the gas. The visitors’ intentions were clear when Matt Doherty was booked for time wasting in the 56th minute.

Santos made two more changes in the 62nd minute as João Mário and Nuno Mendes replaced Bruno Fernandes and Raphaël Guerreiro.

Bernardo Silva saw a shot deflected over the bar before João Moutinho replaced João Palhinha in the 73rd minute. Minutes later it seemed certain Portugal would equalise, Ronaldo’s cross finding Bernardo who stepped inside Matt Doherty before firing over from close range.

Gonçalo Guedes replaced João Cancelo in the 82nd minute with time rapidly running out. Ronaldo shot over from distance, João Mário saw his shot blocked before Ronaldo’s free kick was saved by Bazunu.

Ronaldo steals the show

It all seemed lost for Fernando Santos and his side but Ronaldo was far from finished. Guedes’ cross found Portugal’s talisman who rose high and headed past Bazunu. Jota fired over the bar and João Mário’s deflected shot was saved, but Ronaldo rose high head home Mario’s cross and send the crowd into ecstasy.

Line Ups

Portugal XI (4-3-3): Rui Patrício - Raphaël Guerreiro (Nuno Mendes 62’), Pepe, Rúben Dias, João Cancelo (Gonçalo Guedes 82’) - Bruno Fernandes (João Mário 62’), João Palhinha (João Moutinho 73’), Bernardo Silva - Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafa Silva (André Silva 45’)

Unused substitutes: Anthony Lopes, Diogo Costa, Domingos Duarte, Nélson Semedo, Danilo Pereira, Rúben Neves, Otávio

Coach: Fernando Santos

Republic of Ireland XI (3-5-2): G. Bazunu - J. Egan, D. O'Shea (A. Omobamidele 36’), S. Duffy - M. Doherty, J. McGrath (J. Molumby 90’), J. Cullen, J. Hendrick, S. Coleman - A. Idah (J. Collins 90’), A. Connolly (J. McClean 72’)

Unused substitutes: T. Parrott, D. Horgan, C. Hourihane, J. Talbot, H. Arter, C. Kelleher, R. Manning.

Coach: S. Kenny

Goals:

[0-1] - John Egan 45'

[1-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo 89'

[2-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo 96'

By Matthew Marshall

Comments (60)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This team is fucked without Renato Sanches because Bruno and Bernardo have no intensity but nevertheless have a starter guarantee. And two goals from CR again cover the shit with chocolate. But underneath the sweet surface, there remains the...

This team is fucked without Renato Sanches because Bruno and Bernardo have no intensity but nevertheless have a starter guarantee. And two goals from CR again cover the shit with chocolate. But underneath the sweet surface, there remains the shit. Rather than partying the win, I recommend to watch minute 45 + 2:25. What Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva do there with the freekick should be enough to fire them. Really. Never seen such a ridiculous thing at professional level. Just nooo!! Subbing Bruno in the second half yes of course and luckily Joao Mario gave an assist. But I’d rather see a player like Otavio, a player with intensity. I‘m done with this. Santos will never fix the things going wrong here. Just forget it. It would be healthier to miss the World Cup now and start from scratch.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hey Rolf, I know you made a big deal about Ronaldo throwing away his armband when we lost but I don't see you talking about him and his leadership when he's clutch, as we saw today.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Chris. You are right. What we can witness today is, same things are happening as back in the Bento area: Hoping that Ronaldo saves PT somehow. Sorry to say that this is no sustainable concept. And Ronaldo standing in the middle and heading...

Hi Chris. You are right. What we can witness today is, same things are happening as back in the Bento area: Hoping that Ronaldo saves PT somehow. Sorry to say that this is no sustainable concept. And Ronaldo standing in the middle and heading crosses in is sure the best position for him to be on the field. I don‘t see a connection to leadership here, I only see he does what he‘s best at - scoring.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

The connection is that his leadership is about being there when it counts. Yes, he throws the occasional tantrum, and can be dramatic, but he speaks in action, and whenever Portugal has needed him, he is always there.

I agree, that counting on...

The connection is that his leadership is about being there when it counts. Yes, he throws the occasional tantrum, and can be dramatic, but he speaks in action, and whenever Portugal has needed him, he is always there.

I agree, that counting on him to do his thing every time is a weakness for the Seleccao.

Regardless, if you criticize him when he's petulant, you also should praise him when he delivers.

And he delivers far more than when he acts out. So maybe I'm asking you to be a bit more fair with the guy. That's it.

Cheers mate.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

guedes needs more time great player always performed for seleçao, bruno again fails... i liked Andre silva in the mix we need a striker...

midfield seemed a bit lost... id like to se pizzi rocardo horta get a chnace...

renato is missed..


for...

guedes needs more time great player always performed for seleçao, bruno again fails... i liked Andre silva in the mix we need a striker...

midfield seemed a bit lost... id like to se pizzi rocardo horta get a chnace...

renato is missed..


forcaa cr7 again but done zero till the goals...

but goals ars.goals well.done to the best

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Saved by Ronaldo again. You almost feel bad for the Irish. Why does it take until the 89th minute to play with sense of urgency and play dangerous balls into the box? Santos is clueless. Rafa starting? Andre Silva changed game like he did v...

Saved by Ronaldo again. You almost feel bad for the Irish. Why does it take until the 89th minute to play with sense of urgency and play dangerous balls into the box? Santos is clueless. Rafa starting? Andre Silva changed game like he did v Belgium but Santos won't play him. Guy scored 20 plus goals in Germany. Even though he didn't score as 9 he served as a focal point, let's Ronaldo drift. With Santos it looks like they have no plan or ideas. Kicking the ball around like it's training. With the talent we have we shouldn't be winning last minute matches home v Ireland. He was the right coach in 16 and deserves credit for the trophies but he's not right for this team and he's holding them back.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great point about A Silva. We don't need a world beater there, just someone to help take off full focus on Ronaldo.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

First of all obviously congratulations, Cristiano! Saved Portugal yet again. What a captain to have. The rest of the game was frustrating to say the least. The way the defence was set up was just wrong. I guess Ronaldo is what keeps Santos employed.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Second competitive game in a row that shows we have no plan on how to come back from being down. Just throw individuals out there and hope there individual effort is enough. Luckily, this was Ireland and not Belgium.

Like I said after Belgium...

Second competitive game in a row that shows we have no plan on how to come back from being down. Just throw individuals out there and hope there individual effort is enough. Luckily, this was Ireland and not Belgium.

Like I said after Belgium game and failed Euros, I am grateful for all Santos has done, but his time is up.

I know people said he will need to stay the course because changes can't be made for qualifying, but we were about 1 minute away from being on a hard playoff road. I am fairly sure Serbia would just park and counter if they had 2 points on us.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Celebrate Ronaldo's two goals and record, not his overall performance. Palhinha did a great job with recoveries and made a case to hold a starting role in the 6. The rest if the team was awful and the performance was awful...Santos tactical plan...

Celebrate Ronaldo's two goals and record, not his overall performance. Palhinha did a great job with recoveries and made a case to hold a starting role in the 6. The rest if the team was awful and the performance was awful...Santos tactical plan was awful.

This game is for the Santos apologists!!!losing Ignacio and pote was unfortunate but would have played a back 3 against a back 3....probably not.

It's not Bruno or Bernardo (who I thought played well comparatively speaking), it's it's coaches inability to get them playing in the positions and with the patterns of play that brings out their quality and if that means sacrificing another good player to find the balance then so be it because the balance is out of wack.

If Bruno isn't playing as a ten alongside the striker where he can make passes, shoot and make secondary runs beyond the striker than he is useless!!!

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Palhinha, Pepe and Ronaldo were the only bright spots in this game.

Bernardo was crap, Bruno F should stick to Man United, Rapha has phoned in his performances for 3 years now and should be benched, Ruben Dias has been shit for Portugal lately...

Palhinha, Pepe and Ronaldo were the only bright spots in this game.

Bernardo was crap, Bruno F should stick to Man United, Rapha has phoned in his performances for 3 years now and should be benched, Ruben Dias has been shit for Portugal lately and best of all, we have a coach who's response to a garbage Euro was to change ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ronaldo was a bright spot, when he finally played where he needs to, in the box. His headers are still world class. But prior to that, he was very poor.

That is the thing about Ronaldo, has a poor game and then boom 2 goals in 6 minutes.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

All that matters is the scoresheet at the end of the game, in his case.

The bigger issue is that he continues to be the only solution because we have a very nice but very inept coach.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Agree. It was a crap performance, with 6 final minutes of a GOAT performance.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

29 shots, only 7 on target and Ronaldo saves their ass again.

Santos apologists celebrate another mediocre performance from apparently star players.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yeah, reconcile that.

Star players, who suck together. How come the club coaches seem to get a lot out of them?

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Maybe I was watching a different game than the other readers but we played a defense minded team which we know are sometimes hard to penetrate. Ask all the big teams. Like these defense teams, Ireland snuck in a goal and then hold on for...

Maybe I was watching a different game than the other readers but we played a defense minded team which we know are sometimes hard to penetrate. Ask all the big teams. Like these defense teams, Ireland snuck in a goal and then hold on for dear life. Portugal had the ball 73% of time, passing accuracy was 87%, 29 shots on goal, 14 corners. Clearly they were dominating. Unfortunately it took the full game for Portugal to score but eventually they won. Congrats to CR7. Next time keep your shirt so you don't miss the next match. He probably did not want to travel to Azerbajan anyway.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Maybe you were making a sandwich and not watching the actual game. Portugal had zero incision, creativity or attack against the 47th ranked team in the world who has the most goals allowed in the entire group.

If you think this kind of...

Maybe you were making a sandwich and not watching the actual game. Portugal had zero incision, creativity or attack against the 47th ranked team in the world who has the most goals allowed in the entire group.

If you think this kind of performance is "no big deal", please don't watch when we play bigger teams.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ronaldo bailed us out yet again tonight. Apart from the last 15-20 minutes when we really had Ireland pinned back and forced into last ditch defending, Portugal looked lethargic and disjointed. The ball circulation was slow, there was very few...

Ronaldo bailed us out yet again tonight. Apart from the last 15-20 minutes when we really had Ireland pinned back and forced into last ditch defending, Portugal looked lethargic and disjointed. The ball circulation was slow, there was very few intricate passing combinations, and our defense looked shaky every time Ireland hit a long ball over the top on the counter.

Bruno Fernandes was abysmal yet again. Perhaps he needs the entire team to be built around him to succeed. If that's the case, he needs to find a spot on the bench. Bernardo missed an absolute sitter, but I think he actually played rather well today, especially in the second half. Palhinha looks to have made the #6 role his own.

Fernando Santos has no business coaching this team after back-to-back tournament failures, but we all no he ain't going anywhere any time soon, especially if we manage to finish in first place in this relatively straightforward group.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'm just looking forward to "Breaking Down the Bandwagon Part II: Santos' Tactical Masterclass in almost losing to Ireland"

I'm sure the amazing and refreshingly new creative tactics that Santos employed, such as infinite hail Mary crosses, zero...

I'm just looking forward to "Breaking Down the Bandwagon Part II: Santos' Tactical Masterclass in almost losing to Ireland"

I'm sure the amazing and refreshingly new creative tactics that Santos employed, such as infinite hail Mary crosses, zero pressing and "pass it to Ronaldo", will all be covered.

I also look forward to reading about how continuing to use Bernardo as a winger and Bruno Fernandes starting have given us new life and shown how Portugal are pre-destined to destroy all competition on our way to raising the World Cup trophy over our heads.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It did seem like Bernardo was in the middle a lot more than usual.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This game is all the evidence ones needs for the “case against keeping Santos.” The perfect example of Santos’s tactics being dated and him having no idea how to implement a system to get the best out of this squad. Prime example of what many...

This game is all the evidence ones needs for the “case against keeping Santos.” The perfect example of Santos’s tactics being dated and him having no idea how to implement a system to get the best out of this squad. Prime example of what many were saying.

I feel like after the qualifiers and especially after the WC Matthew should revisit his take on Santos’s ability to adjust and that article in general. Just so there is some accountability to sensationalist headlines. Adjusting is much more than just switching from a double pivot to a single or putting more pace on the outside or bringing on a “second” striker in Andre Silva.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Or bring every last warm body off the bench and hope two players string together a moment of great individual effort, i.e. Guedes and Ronaldo.

There are no comments posted here yet
Load More

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

      

Partners