The Republic of Ireland v Portugal
1 : 0
After 18 Caps, O'Brien gets his first goal
Portugal, wore a special black-and-white strip as did Holland against England as part of the European-wide anti-racism campaign. Ireland had a lively start when Reid pounced on a stray pass and powered into the opposition penalty, instead of a snap shot he hesitated and passed and in doing so lost the initiative.
Portugal replied with Tiago's shot just past the post, Ronaldo's shot was deflected and Andrede's effort from a corner.
Ireland looked comfortable with Duffer, as usual proving himself the key initiator of the Irish moves. His wizardry on the wing twice set up Robbie Keane headers, but both came to nothing.
After 21 minutes O'Brien scored his first goal for Ireland when he connected with an O'Shea knock-on from a corner and blasted the ball into the back of the net as Ferreira lost his footing just as he shot.
After 31 minutes Petit's free kick forced Given to save by pushing his free kick wide, the only time he was called into action in the first half.
Duff continued to menace the Portuguese while switching wings at ease. Just before half time he picked up the ball on the left wing and ran at the defence, he checked, turned and hit a shot with his right foot, Ricardo unsighted managed to get down to smoother the rasping shot.
The use of four half-time substitutes by Portugal let Ireland dominate the start of the
second half. The constant addition of subs by both sides had the usual effect of
dampening the game. Ireland were the better side and looked the more likely to
score. A good interaction between Morrisson and Keane forced Matias to clear the
ball under pressure and it came off the upright.
Ireland defended well and ensured that Portugal were unable to trouble Given. Portugal came closest to scoring after 85 minutes when Viana's shot went wide and hit the back net support and the ball flew across the back of the net, for a moment some of the players and the crowd thought that the ball had somehow squeezed between Shay and the goal post.! But Shay had it covered and has another clean sheet.
Republic of Ireland - Given, Finnan, Cunningham (Dunne, 60), OBrien, OShea,
Reid, Holland, Kilbane (Kavanagh, 45), Duff (Miller, 68), Robbie Keane (McGeady, 82),
Portugal - Ricardo, Paulo Ferreira (Viana, 45), Andrade, Caneira, Rogerio Matias, Petit, Tiago (Miera, 45), Deco (Costa, 45), Ronaldo (Fernandes, 68), Simao (Boa Morte, 60), Pauleta (Nuno Gomes, 45).
Referee - M Messias (England)
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