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Gavin Bazunu reveals conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo after Ireland defeat

Gavin Bazunu denies Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the world’s leading international goalscorer on Wednesday but he was made to wait for the achievement by 19-year-old Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

The Dubliner saved Ronaldo’s first half penalty, keeping the forward level with Iran’s Al Daei on 109 international goals, and it looked that’s where he would remain until two late headers got him to the 111-goal mark.

Cristiano Ronaldo congratulates Gavin Bazunu.

The likelihood is that Ronaldo knew very little about Bazunu before Portugal’s 2-1 victory but he’s certainly aware of his abilities now, with the goalkeeper’s save earning the respect of the returning Manchester United hero.

“He just said congratulations, well done,” Bazunu said of the words he exchanged with Ronaldo after the final whistle. “I said the same to him.”

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Manchester City loanee Bazunu, who started a season-long spell at League One Portsmouth with three consecutive clean sheets before finally conceding in a 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic last weekend.

Gavin Bazunu: “Stick with us.”

In recent months, he has also appeared to establish himself as Stephen Kenny’s first choice in the Ireland goal, a run that has coincided with improved team performances since he made his debut in the 1-0 defeat to Luxembourg in March.

Bazunu has shown maturity off the field as well as on it, by taking responsibility for the concession of the penalty that led to his famous save against Ronaldo.

Speaking to the media yesterday, he has also called on the Irish public to get behind the team as Kenny’s continues to place his stamp on his young squad.

“There are a lot of young players in the squad,” Bazunu said. “I think you just have to have faith in us, you’ve seen the way we played against Portugal, one of the best teams in the world.

“Yeah, we were on the defence a lot but I think we showed that we can cause a lot of problems, we had a lot of chances in the game ourselves.

“Just stick with us and have faith that we’re doing the right things.”

 

Bazunu and his teammates have already arrived back in Ireland ahead of an Aviva Stadium double-header, which begins against Azerbaijan on Saturday before the visit of Serbia on Tuesday.

For the first time in the Stephen Kenny era, supporters will be in the Dublin venue to cheer the team on, with 25,000 supporters allowed into the ground for each game.

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