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Ireland 0-0 Portugal

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

Ireland play Portugal in what on the face of it is a dead rubber from the hosts’ perspective.

On the other hand, Stephen Kenny’s contract has yet to be extended and tonight could go some way towards resolving that issue.

A second competitive win would surely seal the deal in that regard, while the packed Aviva crowd and the fact that Portugal have left out some important players will also likely be beneficial to the Boys in Green’s chances.


Moreover, regardless of what happens tonight, automatic qualification will be decided when Portugal take on Serbia on Sunday, and so Fernando Santos’ side will not necessarily need to go all out for the win, though avoiding defeat would mean Portugal only need a draw in their climactic encounter at the weekend.

We’re underway…

The crowd are certainly up for this game.

Every mistake by the visitors is being cheered loudly.

Portugal have dominated possession in the early stages as expected, but they haven’t been able to do much with it.

Ronaldo threatens to get away from Coleman down the left, but the Everton defender makes a good recovery tackle.

Something tells me that won’t be the last time the Man United star goes close this evening.

stephen-kenny-signs-autographs-for-a-fan-ahead-of-the-game Ireland manager Stephen Kenny signs autographs for a fan ahead of the game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A lapse of concentration from the Irish defence allows Silva to run through on goal from a free-kick played into the area.

However, Bazunu is alert and saves the forward’s shot from a tight angle.

Ireland had a decent spell of possession there but didn’t do much with it before giving the ball away cheaply.

Matt Doherty looks the hosts’ best attacking outlet so far, as he has caused a few problems with his runs down the right

Before that, Seamus Coleman made a great block to stop a goalbound Ronaldo effort from hitting the target.

Shane Duffy just completely outfoxed Ronaldo with a lovely turn much to the crowd’s delight.

Down the other end, Ireland break swiftly and Rui Patricio has to palm away a Callum Robinson cross.

Portugal, meanwhile, aren’t happy, after Cristiano Ronaldo went down under a Seamus Coleman challenge in the area.

Ogebene has just been booked for an incident with Danilo.

The defender went down as if he’d been elbowed when the Irish star was holding the ball up, but there didn’t appear to be too much in it judging by the replays I’ve seen.

Callum Robinson’s shot from distance flies a few inches wide after decent build-up play by Ireland.

It’s been an enthralling first half — you can’t take your eyes off it.

As I type, Nunes has a shot from the edge of the area that is deflected over.

A good sustained spell of pressure by Ireland here.

A corner is followed by another corner moments later, with the excitement palpable in the ground.

Half chance for Ireland.

Robinson crosses for Ogbene, who can’t quite direct his header on target from a difficult angle.

josh-cullen-and-bruno-fernandes Ireland's Josh Cullen defends a shot from Bruno Fernandes of Portugal. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

So it’s been an intriguing opening 45 minutes.

Both sides have had half chances though neither have been particularly clinical in the final third.

Ireland have got into some decent attacking positions, but have lacked composure at key moments.

The hosts at times look like they could do with a more physical presence such as Adam Idah to hold the ball up, though both Ogbene and Robinson have worked tirelessly, running the channels and giving the defenders a few headaches. 

chiedozie-ogbene-with-rui-patricio Ireland's Chiedozie Ogbene with Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The second half is underway.

Straight away, Obgene makes a good run and wins a free kick about 30 yards out.

Ronaldo attempts to escape the attentions of Seamus Coleman but the defender wins the ball ultimately.

The Man United star has do far been pretty ineffective, as of course, he was for the first 88 minutes of the last encounter between these two sides.

Ogbene wins a free kick after beating Danillo for pace just by the corner flag.

Moments later, Portugal lose it on the edge of their box when trying to play out, but Cullen’s subsequent shot does not unduly trouble Patricio.

Ronaldo crashes a free-kick into the wall and it gets one of the loudest cheers of the night.

Portugal then make a double change — Joao Moutinho and Rafael Leao are on in place of Matheus Nunes and Goncalo Guedes.

Doherty gets himself in a decent position down the right after good build-up play by Ireland, but his cross goes straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.

With half an hour to play, this match remains finely balanced.

Ireland now make a change.

Jamie McGrath, who’s been quiet enough, is replaced by Adam Idah.

The official attendance has just been confirmed as 50,737.

As I type, Ronaldo has headed just wide from a Silva cross, before he narrowly avoids the grasp of a pitch invader.

The referee has finally booked Danilo after another cynical challenge on Ogbene as he attempts to escape down the right.

The defender should have seen yellow long ago.

More changes for Portugal.

Joao Felix and Renato Sanches replace Bruno Fernades and Andre Silva.

As I type, Ogbene’s cross is blazed over by Stevens

Changes for Ireland now.

McClean and Hourihane are on for Stevens and Hendrick.

Let-off for Ireland.

Ronaldo curls an audacious attempt from the edge of the area just wide.



He’s been dismissed for an arm in the face to Callum Robinson.

That could be a big moment.

Jose Fonte comes on to replace Rafael Leao in response, as the substitute is substituted.

Ireland are dominating now but they are struggling to create real chances.

Could they get one big opportunity before the final whistle?

There will be five minutes of stoppage time…

Ogbene is being replaced by Will Keane.

Callum Robinson has been named man of the match.

There have certainly been a few contenders in green.

Ireland have the ball in the net through Doherty, but it’s ruled out.

Keane is seemingly penalised for an infringement on the goalkeeper, though it looked soft in the build up.

So Ireland emerge with a creditable point and can still finish third if they beat Luxembourg at the weekend.

It was a display that certainly deserved at least a draw and is further sign that the team are improving under Kenny.

That’s all from me for now, but we’ll have plenty more reaction to follow.

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Paul Fennessy


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