Cristiano Ronaldo made history as Portugal came from behind to defeat the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers. With a late double in Portugal’s 2-1 win over Ireland in Group A Cristiano Ronaldo became the all-time leading goal scorer in men’s international football. Portugal coach Fernando Santos shared his thoughts on the results of his team’s World Cup qualifying match.
“The first 20 minutes were good, we started well, we missed the penalty, there was Jota’s chance that hit the post. We had the correct ball circulation, winning the second ball easily, and João Palhinha did very, very well in that,” Santos quoted as reported by Uefa.com.
The 36-year-old, who returned to Manchester United this week, had earlier missed a penalty chance when it was saved by Gavin Bazunu. Drawing his team level with an 89th-minute header Ronaldo had the final say before sealing a memorable win in the dying embers of stoppage time with another trademark headed finish.
Fernando Santos added, “In the second half we had to break the game a little, with André Silva and Cristiano moving to the flanks. We made substitutions and the team started to apply more pressure. We imposed ourselves on the opposing midfield and were practically playing with two defenders, we had to risk everything and are happy to get two great goals. The players are to be congratulated because they did everything to turn the game around.”
“But from that point on, the team stopped playing, we lost the ability to react to the loss of the ball and our opponent started to create problems. They ended up scoring from a set piece, in a move we knew well, but that’s football.”
Further, Republic of Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny said: “I thought we were very brave in the first half with our possession. We passed it really well and we counter attacked really well. Everything we wanted to happen did happen in terms of Idah and Connolly finding space in the counter attack.”
“The second half was hard. We had to suffer a bit and they had a lot of possession, but we had our chances on the break ourselves. We were probably a minute away from the best victory in Ireland’s qualification history in terms of playing away from home.”
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