Portugal narrowly averted a shock loss to Eire two months in the past thanks to 2 last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo targets and appeared pleased to take some extent against the fourth-placed Irish knowing a superior objective distinction to Serbia put them within the driving seat.
They should do it without Pepe, however, after the skilled central defender was sent off late on for a second bookable offense.
In an evenly-contested first half of few chances, Ronaldo was foiled by a superb block from Eire captain Seamus Coleman however the Manchester United ahead was in any other case saved well beneath wraps by the hard-working hosts.
Chiedozie Ogbene, who plies his commerce fairly just a few rungs under Ronaldo within the third tier of English soccer with Rotherham United, ought to have done higher with a near-post header simply earlier than halftime in his first international begin.
Eire’s efficiency in Faro marked a turning-point in Stephen Kenny’s 14-month reign, throughout which he has blooded spectacular kids like teenage goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu however waited for 12 games for a victory, final month’s 3-0 win in Azerbaijan.
Playing in front of a full home on the Aviva Stadium for the first time because the COVID-19 pandemic started, Kenny noticed extra encouraging indicators on Thursday, notably from striker Callum Robinson, enjoying with the confidence of a person who had scored 5 goals in his final two internationals.
Missing Bernardo Silva by way of injury with the Manchester City maestro within the type of his life, Portugal additionally opted to not danger Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, and Diogo Jota being suspended for Sunday table-topping conflict and it showed throughout.
Ronaldo, who became the all-time main scorer in men’s worldwide soccer towards the Irish final outing, virtually added objective quantity 116 with the perfect likelihood of the sport on 67 minutes however his glancing header slipped narrowly large.
Regardless of their larger possession, notably with the additional man, Eire did little to threaten Rui Patricio’s objective and Ronaldo went shut once more on the demise.
Within the different group game, Gerson Rodrigues took his complete within the marketing campaign to 5 targets by putting twice as Luxembourg beat bottom-placed Azerbaijan 3-1. Luxembourg will save third place in the event that they keep away from the defeat of their last game towards the Irish.