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Cristiano Ronaldo escapes red card for ‘punch’ on West Brom player

Cristiano Ronaldo escapes receiving a red card for an alleged ‘punch’ on West Brom and Ireland player Dara O’Shea on Wednesday night.

A huge amount of talk surrounding Man Utd’s big signing and Portugal international was about his potential to break the all-time international goal scoring record.

However some would say he can count himself lucky at managing to avoid picking up a red card in the clash on the Algarve.

In the 10th minute of the World Cup Qualifier in Faro, Bruno Fernandes went down under minimal contact from Jeff Hendrick, after Ireland misplaced a pass in their own penalty box.

There was a long VAR (video assistant referee) check on whether to award a spot kick, which appeared to show that Hendrick had actually got the ball, with pundits thinking it was soft contact.

West Brom player Dara O’Shea decided to roll the ball away from the spot as Ronaldo got in preparation to take the penalty, and the Portuguese striker then seemingly hit out at the Irishman’s arm. Ronnie Whelan on RTÉ commentary was the first to notice the strike from Ronaldo, calling it a ‘petulant punch’.

In the end, VAR didn’t even review the incident, choosing instead to look at the penalty claim, before ultimately going with the on-field call. It wasn’t the strongest of strikes, but it certainly seemed that Ronaldo was lucky to escape punishment for striking out at O’Shea.

Player ratings

Portugal: Patricio (6), Cancelo (7), Pepe (5), Dias (6), Gurreiro (6), Palhinha (7), Fernandes (6), B Silva (6), R Silva (5), Jota (7), Ronaldo (8).

Subs used: A Silva (6), Mendes (7), Mario (7), Moutinho (6), Guedes (7).

Rep of Ireland: Bazunu (8), Coleman (7), Duffy (7), Egan (7), Cullen (7), Doherty (7), Idah (7), Hendrick (6), McGrath (6), O’Shea (6), Connolly (7).

Subs used: Omobamidele (6), McClean (5), Molumby (n/a), Collins (n/a).

Man of the match: Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo later took to social media to express that he is not yet satisfied with his international goalscoring exploits.

Writing on his Instagram account, he said: “From all the records that I have broken during my career – and fortunately there have been a few – this one is very special for me and it’s certainly on the shelf of the achievements that make me truly proud.

“First of all, because every time I represent my country is a special moment, for knowing that I’m defending Portugal and showing to the world what Portuguese people are made of.

“Secondly, because national teams competitions have always had a very strong impact on me as I was growing up, watching my idols playing for their flags every other summer in Euros and in World Cups.

“But finally and above all, because scoring 111 goals for Portugal means 111 moments like the ones we experienced today in Algarve, moments of worldwide union and happiness for millions and millions of Portuguese citizens all around the Globe. For them, every sacrifice is worth it.

“Thank you Portugal. Thanks to all my team-mates and opponents for making this journey so unforgettable. Let’s keep meeting inside the pitch in the years to come! I’m not closing the count just yet.”

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny admits the 2-1 defeat to Portugal was difficult to take.

“We’re hugely disappointed, the players have been exceptional tonight overall.

“The first half went how we would have wanted, we were able to counter-attack with Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah’s pace and we controlled passages of the game. We restricted Portugal’s chances and scored. We had a few chances to go 2-0 up.

“Portugal were very good in the second half. It was tough for us, we had to dig in and we defended heroically. You just can’t believe that we’ve lost, we should have won it. We were two minutes away, but these are things you sometimes have to accept.

“When you have to win away like that, you do need to win against the odds, but the players were magnificent. Their efforts were really something to be proud of. Technically they were brave on the ball and they put their bodies on the line – they really gave everything. To lose is so difficult for them at the moment.

“There are so many positives in both away games against Serbia and Portugal. There’s so many teenagers coming in and doing brilliantly and they’ve got great role models with the experienced players that they have at the back – Shane Duffy, Seamus Cole, John Egan are great leaders. They’re lucky to have players like that and they can pass on the experience to the players coming through. Hopefully we can continue to improve.

“We have to dust ourselves down and get ready for Saturday.”

Fans reacted as Cristiano Ronaldo escapes a red card for a ‘punch’ on West Brom player Dara O’Shea…

@manaboutdogblog: Ronaldo should have been sent off. Avoiding justice yet again.

@Rickle_Pick86: Can’t understand why VAR didn’t look at the Ronaldo punch?? He should have been sent off for that.

@FancyVegasPro: Not only should Ronaldo have been sent off, but it would have been absolutely hilarious if he was sent off. A travesty of comedy justice.

@rorymon: Ronaldo punched a player. Not only has he not been sent off but they have only showed one replay of it.

@MylesMcGarvey: Ronaldo should have been sent off before that.

@pmokane: Yes he totally overplayed it, but it doesn’t matter. Ronaldo raised his hand and should have been sent off.

@Joshua_Ubeku: Ronaldo slapped a player and wasn’t sent off. This privilege is awful.

@DanielCleary21: So why has Ronaldo not been sent off can anyone explain that one 🤯

@parkinsonross: Below the neck. Yellow card. Also Egan should be embarrassed with that reaction

@50shadesofhaigh: No way, pushed him on the shoulder. If anything, O’Shea should have been sent off for the shithousery and then going down like Anthony Joshua had just landed a right hand on him.

@YoungOmz2: Dara O’Shea probs didn’t wash his face after the game let’s be real

@49whufc_smh: Any other player would of been sent off. Enough said

@bea4no77: Dara O’Shea should be the topic of conversation here. He kicks the ball away and the simulates that he’s been hit in the face when he got a shove in the arm. Shameful.

@We_are_Boro: The worst thing about this is first of all O’Shea kicking the ball off of the penalty spot and then holding his face after being slapped in the arm. Embarrassing attempt to get a player sent off.

@Callumharvey92: Other way round he’d be rolling for 300 yards

@digger_bar: Both yellow cards. He catches him on shoulder not in face. Yellow for kicking ball away. Yellow for retaliation. #simples

@CaIlum999: It’s literally violent conduct ffs

@akizzle83: Embarrassing by O’Shea

@AnthonySJ: It’s a red, simple as that. Who he is shouldn’t change anything. Players have gone for less.

@fionnteyssou1: The ref was a disgrace yesterday from start to finish

@shaunkerr1690: O’Shea is a fucking joke holding his head after get a wee push on shoulders, these dickheads should be sent off for trying to get players sent off

@BradDavis28: How embarrassing.. sort your player out @WBA

@MrTekkersCook: Embarrassing from O’Shea. Never in a million years would I give a red card for this. But I would book O’Shea for kicking the ball away off the spot and/or the embarrassing play acting of being pushed on the shoulder and going down holding his face.

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