Ireland 0-0 Portugal
Ireland and Portugal played out a dull nil nil draw in front of a jam packed Aviva Stadium as the game didn’t live up to the pre match hype.
Portugal looked dis interested with their attentions possibly been on their crucial top of the table clash against Serbia on Sunday. The winner qualifying for the World Cup
Ireland put in a committed display in front of their home supporters but they lacked quality in the final third rarely threatening the Portuguese goal keeper but showed signs of their recent form.
Both teams lacked penetration for large periods of the game and couldn’t find the last pass to unlock either sides defences.
The first half was a non-event for most of the half with both teams having possession but not capatlising on it.
Ireland had their first chance of the night in the fifth minute, came from a corner, Shane Duffy rose highest, but Callum Robinson was unable to react to the knockdown and the ball was cleared.
Portugal started to dominate possession and their first chance of the night came soon after when Gavin Bazunu saved a chance from Andre Silva which it looked to be going wide.
The next moment of notice in a quiet first half was a chance for Ronaldo but Irish captain Seamus Coleman intervened with a goal saving block to keep the teams deadlocked.
In the 26th minute Ireland went on the counterattack with the front three linking up which ended in a save from Rui Patricio after a cross come shot by Robinson.
Ireland finished the half strongest with a number of crosses into the box where Ogbene had a chance but headed over as the teams went in level at the break after a poor first half.
Within ten seconds of the second half Ogbene broke free and won Ireland a free kick in a great position but again Ireland failed to trouble the Portuguese goalkeeper.
Another chance came the home sides way after Portugal tried to play out from the back but Josh Cullen won the ball back but never really troubled the keeper with his shot.
Portugal had a huge chance midway through the second half from a Ronaldo header, everyone was ready for the net to ripple but the ball just beat the post and went narrowly wide.
The Portuguese manager seen enough and looked to his bench to make an impact bringing Joao Feilx and Renato Sanchez.
The next chance came Ireland’s way when Ogbene was getting joy down the right wing and set up a half chance for Enda Stephens who blazed over the bar which was his last act before getting changed.
Soon after Pepe was shown his marching orders after great closing down by Robinson resulted in Pepe getting his second yellow of the night and was sent for an early shower.
Ireland couldn’t capatalise on their extra man and couldn’t breakdown the Portuguese side and had to settle for the draw.
There was lots of positives to come out of the game for the home side and now their attentions turn to Luxembourg which is their final game of the campaign on Sunday.
Ireland Team: Gavin Bazunu; Seamus Coleman, Shane Duffy, John Egan; Matt Doherty, Josh Cullen, Jeff Hendrick, Enda Stephens; Chiedozie Ogbene, Callum Robinson, Jamie McGrath
Subs: Adam Idah for McGrath, James McClean for Stephens, Conor Hourhiane for Hendrick
Portugal Team: Rui Patricio; Nelson Semedo, Pepe, Danilo Pereria, Diogo Dalot; Joao Palhinha, Matheus Nunes, Bruno Fernandes; Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Goncalo Guedes
Subs: Joao Moutinho for Nunes, R Leao for Guedes, Joao Felix for Andre Silva, Renato Sanchez for Bruno Fernandes, Jose Fonte for Leao