Ireland held 10-man Portugal to a goalless draw

Ireland frustrated Portugal yesterday night to earn a well-deserved point at the Aviva Stadium tonight. Portugal go top of Group A but level on points with Serbia, who they play in Lisbon on Sunday in what will now be a huge game. 

It’s a pretty silent game and the first relevant shot on goal came from Andre silva in the 13th minute, with a quick ball from Bruno Fernandes but his shot wasn’t hot enough for Gavin Bazunu, the Irish goalkeeper who pushed it wide for a corner.

Cristiano Ronaldo too got his chance but missed from a heroic Seamus Coleman’s block, to ensure they were still in the game. Pressure mounted on the Irish defense as Ronaldo went down in the Ireland penalty area after Matt Doherty rose for the ball and made contact with the Portugal forward, but a penalty would have been harsh. 

The pressure only lasted on the Portuguese side for about 10-25 minutes as Ireland seemed to be getting themselves back in the game. However, the  Portuguese would still always attack at some point. Pepe’s red card came in the 82nd minute as the defender’s flailing arm caught Callum Robinson and the referee did not hesitate in showing the Portugal center-back a second yellow card. He will not be able to play in Portugal’s potentially crucial match against Serbia on Sunday.

Ireland scored not long after but it was disallowed for a freekick against them for a foul by Will Keane on the Portuguese goalkeeper.

Cristiano Ronaldo had the chance to win the match late after coming in from the right-hand side of the box, but his shot was saved by Bazunu. He probably should have picked out Joao Felix, who was pulling towards the back post. The 36-year-old scored two last-gasp headers in the reverse fixture in September to snatch victory at the death and powered a 67th-minute effort wide with a crowd of 50,737 at the Aviva Stadium expecting the net to bulge.

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