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Cristiano Ronaldo gives verdict on “difficult” night against Ireland

Cristiano Ronaldo on 0-0 draw against Ireland.

Cristiano Ronaldo was grateful to leave Dublin with a point on Thursday night after the Republic of Ireland and Portugal played out a 0-0 draw at a packed Aviva Stadium.

The Manchester United forward was kept quiet by an Irish central defensive triumvirate of Seamus Coleman, Shane Duffy and John Egan, only really threatening with a late curling effort which sailed wide of Gavin Bazunu’s goal.

Ronaldo kept quiet in Dublin.

The result means that Portugal and Serbia go into their final World Cup qualifier level on points at the top of the group, with only one automatic place in Qatar up for grabs.

While Ronaldo will doubtless be disappointed not to have had the chance to perform his famous celebration in Dublin, he appears fully aware that a stalemate against Stephen Kenny’s side is a point well-earned, and he made this clear on his social media accounts after the game.

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo: “Always difficult to play in Ireland.”

“Always difficult to play in Ireland, but the point scored leaves all the goals at our mercy,” Ronaldo wrote. “On Sunday, in front of our audience and in our home, we will stamp out our presence at the Qatar World Cup!”

Last night’s match was the second time that Ireland have gone toe-to-toe with Portugal this autumn, after the heartbreaking 2-1 defeat in Faro back in September.

On that occasion, Ronaldo did manage to get on the scoresheet, not once but twice, as a late brace cancelled out a first-half opening goal from John Egan.

It could be argued that Ireland were even better second time around, with the backing of a 51,700-strong home crowd, as the confidence among Kenny’s men continues to rise.

While the home side defended resolutely and attacked with intention, a lighter moment in the first half when Shane Duffy out-foxed Ronaldo epitomised this new found conviction.

Shane Duffy hails Stephen Kenny.

Duffy’s resurrection has been one of the success stories of a mixed campaign and after the match the defender hailed his manager for getting Ireland back on track.

“If you don’t think we are going in the right way you are writing the wrong stuff,” the 29-year-old told reporters.

“We’re all in the right direction, with the football we are playing and the fans are excited. I think it’s obvious that we love playing under him. There is so much fight for the manager and every single one of us in there is fighting for him in there.”

Ireland wrap up their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to Luxembourg on Sunday, when a third-place finish will be up for grabs. Find out how you can watch it here.

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