Match Report | Portugal 3-0 Republic of Ireland

Match Report | Portugal 3-0 Republic of Ireland

Portugal defeated the Republic of Ireland 3-0 in the Iberian sides' final match before embarking on the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament.

A first-half strike from João Félix gave the home side a slender lead at the break, but a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo in the second-half sealed the victory at the Estádio Municipal de Aveiro. 

John O’Shea made three changes from the side that defeated Hungary in Dublin last week, with Jake O’Brien coming in for his first full start for Ireland after making his debut last week and Troy Parrott and Liam Scales coming into the starting eleven. 

Both sides put early pressure on their respective defences, but Portugal had the first shot blocked down when some clever build-up play down the right saw João Félix’s effort blocked down on the edge of the area. This was followed up with Bruno Fernandes having a sight on goal as he got ahead of Kelleher for the ball, but O'Brien cleared it off the by-line. 

Kelleher was forced to make an excellent save as Ronaldo and Dalot played a short pass to João Félix, with the Irish keeper having to use his feet to deny a certain goal. Portugal were to score in the next phase of attack as a short corner, which saw the ball played by Fernandes into the path of João Félix, who struck a low curling effort past Kelleher. 

Ronaldo almost made it two when his well-placed free-kick struck the post following a deflection off Adam Idah in the Irish wall. Szmodics had a chance to level from Ireland when a quick ball into the area met the Irish forward, but his effort goalward was blocked down for a corner. Bruno Fernandes was to strike the side netting following another build-up down the right, with Dalot and Ronaldo setting up Fernandes with his powerful effort just going wide. 

Szmodics had another shot on goal blocked down after another good run from Idah, who made an advancing run into the Portuguese area. In the next phase of attack, Will Smallbone set Idah to break forward, but despite opportunities on goal, neither he nor Seamus Coleman could make it count. Just before halftime, Ronaldo went close again with Fernandes’ cross. Ronaldo was unmarked, but he headed over. 

Portugal made it 2-0 in the opening stages of the second half when Ronaldo collected the ball on the edge of the area, and with one touch, he set himself up to beat Kelleher while striking a high effort to the top corner. He would go to score his second goal of the night on the hour mark following a sweeping move with Diogo Jota nicking the ball from Smallbone, and using the outside of his boot, he laid the ball to the waiting Ronaldo, who hit a powerful shot past Kelleher. 

Tom Cannon had his first chance in an Irish shirt following a long ball forward, that saw Cannon latch onto the ball and avoid the attention of Danil with his low effort struck the outside of the netting of Costa’s goal. 

Bruno Fernandes forced an excellent save from Kelleher as he struck an effort first time to force Kelleher to push it around the far post for a corner. Ireland initially cleared that set piece but a secondary shot from Danilo was saved well by Kelleher. Ronaldo went close to securing a hat trick, but a first-time effort just whistled past the near post. 

Ireland had the last chance of note when Cannon and Johnson combined, with the latter striking at the near post, which forced a clever save from Costa. 

Portugal: Diogo Costa (GK), Pepe (Danilo 46), Dalot (Nélson Semedo 46), António Silva, Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, João Félix (Rúben Neves 46), Gonçalo Inácio, João Neves (Matheus Nunes 77), Rafael Leão (Diogo Jota 46), João Cancelo (Nuno Mendes 46).

Subs not used: Rui Patrício (GK), José Sá (GK), Rúben Dias, João Palhinha, Gonçalo Ramos, Bernardo Silva, Matheus Nunes, Vitinha, Pedro Neto, Francisco Conceição

Republic of Ireland: Kelleher (GK), Coleman (Doherty 70), O'Shea, O’Brien, Cullen, Smallbone (Sykes 83), Idah (Cannon 52), Brady (O'Dowda 52), Scales, Parrott (Johnston 52), and Szmodics (Knight 70).

Subs not used: O'Leary (GK), Travers (GK), Harrington (GK), Stevens, Duffy, Obafemi, McGrath, Azaz

Booked: None

Sent off: None

Player of the Match: Caoimhin Kelleher

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (ENG)

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