Chidozie Ogbene was the star as Stephen Kenny's Republic of Ireland side impressed again during a 0-0 draw with Portugal in the Aviva Stadium.
Stephen Kenny's kids were absent for this one.
None of Andrew Omobamidele, Dara O'Shea, Adam Idah, Aaron Connolly nor Troy Parrott started for Ireland. Gavin Bazunu was the only teenager in the team against Portugal. But the playing style was consistent. Portugal dominated possession but Ireland were smart with the ball when they had it. When they didn't have the ball, Portugal couldn't create any chances of real significance.
It was a good display from a team that showed a clear identity and understanding of what to do.
Ireland put in another assured performance as Stephen Kenny's team continues to grow.
Here are the Ireland player ratings.
1 - 2 awful
3 - 4 bad
5 - 6 average
7 - good
8 - very good
9 - exceptional
10 - Christian Eriksen in the Aviva
Republic of Ireland
Gavin Bazunu - 6.5
While the ball appeared to be going wide, Bazunu reacted quickly to stop Silva from a tight angle early in the game. He then had to scramble to clear a poor Josh Cullen backpass that was headed towards goal. Bazunu was never threatened. Ireland kept Portugal at bay before they could create one-on-one chances against him.
Bazunu's distribution was outstanding.
Seamus Coleman - 7
Coleman was out of place as the right-sided center back from the start. Although he has played the position before, he doesn't really fit there. He was very fortunate in the first half that Gavin Bazunu made a quick save when he found himself out of position arguing with the referee. Coleman was also outmuscled more than once by the bigger Portugal attackers.
He did have one highlight block in the first half as he dove across Cristiano Ronaldo's shot in the box. Furthermore, Coleman is an outstanding one-on-one defender. So even if he wasn't a perfect fit in his role, he was still very impressive when forced to defend in space. He regularly got the better of Ronaldo.
Shane Duffy - 7
Duffy set the tone early with a strong challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo. He tracked the striker deep when he ran towards the ball. Soon after that, Ronaldo jumped into Duffy to somehow win a free-kick against him. It wasn't the first peculiar decision the referee would make in the game. Duffy did at least get to turn away from Ronaldo with the ball at one stage, eliciting rapturous cheers from the crowd.
John Egan - 7.5
The left side of Ireland's defence tends to be quiet. It's not a coincidence that John Egan is there. His positioning is consistently excellent, his pace means attackers can't turn him easily and his aerial prowess quenches opportunities. Egan fits perfectly in a back three, regardless of where he lines up. He's continually an excellent defender for Ireland.
Egan noted that Ireland are growing as a team under Stephen Kenny. This was another performance that supports his growth into a high-quality international player.
Matt Doherty - 8.5
Matt Doherty plays his best football for Ireland. Even when his team is camped in its own half, Doherty is smart with the ball. Whether it's winning a throw-in from a bad position or showing some poise to kill the pace of the attack, Doherty tends not to put a foot wrong as Ireland's right wing-back.
He was a protagonist for Ireland on the counter-attack and showed great strength in tackles.
Enda Stevens - 6.5 (subbed off 77')
Stevens was a surprise selection ahead of Nathan Collins and James McClean. He started slowly as the pace of the game caught him out more than once. Once he settled, he was assured in defence and supported upfield effectively. Most of Ireland's best counterattacking play went down the right side as Doherty offered much more than Stevens with the ball.
Stevens had arguably Ireland's best chance of the game but it fell to his right foot in the box. The wing-back might have had a chance if it was on his left.
Jeff Hendrick - 6 (subbed off 77')
Hendrick showcased his confidence with an early stepover. He pressed into the box and tried to get around the last defender, but Pepe covered across to concede the corner. His involvement quickly fizzled out though. Ireland know they can rely on Hendrick to carry out his defensive responsibilities and get stuck into tackles.
Josh Cullen - 7
It's the only word to describe Josh Cullen. Ireland conceded possession in this game but when they did have possession, Cullen was most impressive with it. His short, sharp passing prevents the opposition from swarming the ball. Cullen almost benefited from a Portuguese mistake when Chidoze Ogbene set him up on the edge of the box. He put the right shape on his shot but didn't generate enough power to score.
Chidozie Ogbene - 9 (subbed off 90')
It took Chidozie Ogbene 20 minutes to adapt to the speed that Portugal played at. You don't see that in League 1. Once he adjusted, Ogbene began to make runs in behind the defence. He was always available for long balls when Portugal pressed high upfield.
Ogbene gave Danilo fits throughout the game. Whenever he found space, the Portuguese defender panicked. He was lucky to not be sent off long before he got his first booking on 70 minutes.
Jamie McGrath (subbed off 60') - 6
There weren't many opportunities for McGrath on the ball. He didn't lose it unnecessarily and always looked up for the right option, but he never found an incisive pass. McGrath worked hard on the left wing, notably winning the ball back from Ronaldo on multiple occasions. He is a proven, reliable international starter at this stage.
McGrath left the field after an hour. Ogbene and Robinson offered more of a threat with their pace, so he couldn't complain too much about being the first sub off. McGrath will have more value against Luxembourg when Ireland play higher upfield.
Callum Robinson - 8
Starved of possession, Robinson did well to get into passing lanes in the first half. He intercepted two passes and repeatedly created an obstacle for Portugal defenders in possession. The West Brom striker had two very deep flash shots that threatened to open the scoring. Combined they were about 65 yards out from goal.
Robinson created an opening for Ogbene with a precise cross late in the first half. Unfortunately, Ogbene was just ahead of the front post to finish it off.
Adam Idah (subbed on 60') - 7
Idah was Ireland's best player in Faro. He gave Ireland a grip in the Portugal half by holding the ball up. Coming on after an hour of this game, he only had a couple of opportunities to repeat that role but he did so effectively once again. Idah played a beautiful ball around the corner for Callum Robinson late in the game. Robinson returned the favour with a ball into the box, but it just escaped Idah's reach.
It would have been a dream opening goal for the young striker.
James McClean (subbed on 77')
Conor Hourihane (subbed on 77')
Will Keane (subbed on 90')
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