Monday, June 17, 2024

Portugal 3-0 Republic of Ireland – Cristiano Ronaldo hits brace as Portugal sign off ahead of Euro 2024 in style – Eurosport

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal emphatically beat the Republic of Ireland 3-0 in their final game before Euro 2024.

The 39-year-old’s 129th and 130th international goals capped a successful send-off for Portugal, who dominated possession and the chances from the outset.

Joao Felix scored the first goal, after Ireland were caught sleeping at a corner, and if anything five half-time changes only grew the chasm between the two teams, despite three of those new faces being defenders.

Ronaldo, who played the full game, doubled Portugal’s lead with a brilliant shot arrowing into the top corner and made it 3-0 10 minutes later, finishing off a chance Diogo Jota’s tenacity and vision created.

Portugal head off to Germany on a winning note and face the Czech Republic in their first game of the European Championship on Tuesday. Ireland’s season is over, but the search for a new permanent manager continues to drag on.

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his second goal with Portugal’s forward Diogo Jota

Image credit: Getty Images

Talking point – Ronaldo slots in nicely

Can you fit a 39-year-old Ronaldo – never known for his defensive work and now playing club football in Saudi Arabia – into a cohesive team unit? That’s the question facing Portugal manager Roberto Martinez, who publicly backed Ronaldo and his defensive efforts before this game, and the evidence of Ronaldo’s 90 minutes on the pitch backed him up.

The lack of questions Ireland posed Portugal certainly helped. But even before the two goals – both taken brilliantly – Ronaldo’s interplay with his team-mates had stood out, with combination play on the right between him, Fernades and Diogo Dalot causing Ireland a lot of problems.

Expect the debate to rumble on, especially when Portugal face better opposition with a more ambitious plan to expose any lack of tracking back from Ronaldo and the Portuguese attackers at large, but tonight was an excellent one for Ronaldo.

Player of the match – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Two good goals – both scored with his weaker foot – and an impressive performance all around on the occasion of Ronaldo’s 207th international cap.

Player ratings

Portugal: Costa 6, Dalot 7, Antonio Silva 6, Pepe 7, Inacio 6, Cancelo 7, Joao Neves 8, Fernandes 8, Felix 6, Ronaldo 8, Leao 6. Subs: Danilo 6, Semedo 6, Mendes 7, Ruben Neves 7, Jota 7, Nunes n/a.

Ireland: Kelleher 7, Coleman 5, O’Brien 6, Scales 5, O’Shea 5, Brady 4, Cullen 5, Smallbone 6, Parrott 4, Szmodics 4, Idah 4. Subs: Cannon 6, Johnston 5, O’Dowda 5, Knight 4, Doherty 5, Sykes n/a.

Match highlights

GOAL! PORTUGAL 1-0 IRELAND (FELIX) 18′ – Just seconds after being denied by a fine Kelleher save, Felix scores! Portugal take the corner short, Fernandes passes to an unmarked Felix and he is allowed to swivel and shoot into the far corner.

OFF THE POST! 22′ – Ronaldo hits a free kick from 35 yards, it takes a deflection off the wall which leaves Kelleher stranded and comes back off the post.

GOAL! PORTUGAL 2-0 IRELAND (RONALDO) 50′ – Ronaldo traps a long ball dead, makes space with a step-over which confuses Scales and then cracks a left-footed shot into the top corner. Brilliant goal.

GOAL! PORTUGAL 3-0 IRELAND (RONALDO) 60′ – Ronaldo grabs his second – thanks largely to Jota. Smallbone and Coleman look to have stopped him on the left, but Jota reacts first to a moment of confusion, advances and tees up Ronaldo with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass. Ronaldo makes no mistake with the first-time finish.

CHANCE! 74′ – Ronaldo – unmarked as he was ahead of play arguing with Kelleher – is picked out by Semedo, who was in front of him after making waves down the right, but Ronaldo shoots just wide. That was the hat-trick chance.

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