Ronaldo scores twice as Portugal outclass Republic of Ireland

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Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Ireland during a friendly soccer match between Portugal and Ireland at the Aveiro Municipal stadium in Aveiro, Portugal, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Luis Vieira)

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a fine double as a classy Portugal side signed off before Euro 2024 by comfortably beating the Republic of Ireland in Aveiro.
Joao Felix opened the scoring for a much-changed Portugal side in the first half, curling home after the hosts caught the Republic out with a short corner.
Ronaldo then fired an unstoppable effort into the top corner early in the second half and doubled his tally with a sweeping finish on the hour mark.

It was a perfect send-off for Roberto Martinez’s side in their last warm-up game before their Euro 2024 opener against the Czech Republic on 18 June.
It was a difficult evening for the Irish, who fell to a second defeat under interim manager John O’Shea.
Frantic start in Aveiro
The Republic were looking to build upon their first win under O’Shea, a 2-1 friendly victory against Hungary at Aviva Stadium last week.
It was a much tougher ask for O’Shea’s side in Aveiro, however, with Portugal looking dangerous during the early exchanges.
Joao Cancelo fashioned an opportunity from left wing-back on nine minutes, finding Rafael Leao, who cushioned the ball back to Felix, with his shot blocked by Liam Scales.
Leao then slipped in Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes and he weaved past a diving Caoimhin Kelleher before seeing his shot from a tight angle blocked by Jake O’Brien.
Kelleher was called into action on 17 minutes after a slick Portugal move, which started and ended with Fernandes.
He fed Ronaldo, who found the run of Diogo Dalot, and despite being in a favourable position in the box the wing-back opted to pull it back to Felix, whose first-time low strike was turned behind by the foot of Kelleher.
Portugal punish sloppy Republic of Ireland
But while Liverpool goalkeeper Kelleher looked good when called upon early on, he was powerless to prevent Portugal’s opener on 18 minutes as his teammates switched off.
Cancelo took a quick corner to Fernandes and he spotted Felix unmarked in the box, with the Atletico Madrid forward curling a shot into the far corner.
A trademark free-kick from Ronaldo deflected off Adam Idah in the wall then rattled the far post, as Portugal pressed for a second.
The visitors eventually managed a sustained period of possession in the Portugal half with Idah lashing the ball into the side netting from an acute angle.
At the other end, Leao cut inside from the left and flashed an effort wide of the far post.
Ronaldo was incensed at having a penalty appeal waved away after he was pushed over clumsily in the box by Robbie Brady, but the referee remained unmoved.
Goncalo Inacio was guilty of missing a huge chance to double Portugal’s advantage in first-half injury-time, as he headed wide from a fine Fernandes cross.
Rocket from Ronaldo
The Republic would have been relieved to get in at the break only 1-0 down but an even more punishing second half was to follow as Portugal refused to let up despite a host of changes at the break.
Ronaldo produced a moment of magic five minutes after the restart as substitute Ruben Neves clipped the ball into the 39-year old and he did a double step-over to get past Scales before angling a shot into the top corner.
He curled home Portugal’s third on 60 minutes as the hosts capitalised on a tiring Republic side.
Diogo Jota poked the ball to Ronaldo inside the box and he swept the ball first-time into the top corner for his 130th international goal.
In a rare foray forward for O’Shea’s side, substitute Tom Cannon almost marked his debut with a goal but fired wide after racing through.
Kelleher then thwarted Fernandes, whose dipping strike had to be turned behind, before Ronaldo uncharacteristically fired wide from close range in search of a hat-trick.
While Portugal head into the Euros with optimism, the Republic of Ireland will hope to have a permanent manager in place for their next game against England in the Nations League in September, with O’Shea in contention to land the job.

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