Ronaldo Breaks Men’s International Goals Record With 2 Impossibly Clutch Headers

Trailing Ireland 1-0 in the 88th minute, Portugal ended up winning thanks to Ronaldo.

It’s been a particularly hellish period for supporters of Ireland. The search for a more progressive style of football yielded one goal in eight matches throughout 2020, and then Luxembourg recorded a famous 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Dublin back in March.

After starting the cycle with two defeats, a result against Portugal at the Estádio Algarve on Wednesday night, however unlikely, was a must. Maybe it was the pure elation at finally playing someone other than Wales, Serbia or Georgia (how many times must we do this, UEFA?), or maybe it was the thrill of knowing they were going up against Cristiano Ronaldo with the 36-year-old needing just one more goal to become the outright leading scorer in men’s international history, but the Boys in Green delivered for 88 minutes… 

And then Ronaldo happened. Ireland thought they’d avoided him, but Ronaldo is inevitable. 

The Portuguese legend’s first opportunity came with just 10 minutes on the clock. 19-year-old Ireland keeper Gavin Bazunu was guilty of gifting possession straight to Bruno Fernandes while attempting to play in the area, but Jeff Hendrick went flying into a tackle and appeared to get his toe on the ball before the Manchester United attacker crumbled to the ground with a scream and multiple rolls.   

After a lengthy review at the pitch-side monitor, the referee decided that his call was the right one and we carried on — but not before Dara O’Shea attempted to put Ronaldo off, resulting in Ronaldo attempting to slap him.

But with the international record at Ronaldo’s fingertips, Bazunu used his to deny the spot kick.  

Diogo Jota struck the post with a header, then we had a couple of frightening moments. Portugal’s 66-year-old manager Fernando Santos ate shit after tripping on a bag.

And then O’Shea suffered an extremely gruesome-looking ankle injury before walking off the field under his own power. Unfortunately he then collapsed again on the sideline.  

Portugal dominated possession and had the wealth of the shots, but Ireland looked dangerous enough on the counter, especially when attacking Portugal’s right flank of João Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Rafa Silva. It was one such foray forward that Portugal had to defend behind for Ireland’s second corner of the match, but that’s all the Boys in Green need.

Jamie McGrath delivered to the near post, where John Egan easily got in front of Ronaldo to flick a header across the face of goal and beyond Rui Patrício.

Ireland had a stonewall penalty in the 59th, but Aaron Connolly isn’t Bruno Fernandes, so it wasn't given.  

The pattern for the rest of the game was Portugal working possession with Ireland putting everyone behind the ball; Portugal working it out wide and Ireland dropping seven into the area; Portugal attempting a cross or shot with Ireland throwing seven bodies into it.

Despite the relentless pressure, getting fucking rid is Ireland’s specialty, and the three points slowly but surely looked secure. But in the 88th, Gonçalo Guedes reached the byline before cutting a cross back for Ronaldo to bury clinically.

It was the record-setting 110th international goal of Ronaldo’s Portugal career. 

If that wasn’t heartbreaking enough for Ireland, 20 seconds past the allotted five minutes of stoppage time, Ronaldo buried another header for goal No. 111.

Portugal stays top of Group A, three points ahead of Serbia. With three defeats to open the cycle, Ireland’s campaign is effectively already doomed. Jesus christ. 

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